Lebanese Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Samir Mokbel ended a one day visit to the United Kingdom today, accompanied by British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter. Mokbel met with his British counterpart Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon and held meetings with Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood, Defence Minister Julian Brazier, Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton, and Lieutenant General Thomas Beckett -Defence Senior Advisor for the Middle East.
The visit was an opportunity to discuss bilateral military and security ties and co-operation between Lebanon and the UK. It also focused on how the UK is supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces, through the recent announcement by the Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond of the UK’s intention to invest a further £19.8million in mentoring and training of the Lebanese Armed Forces which will bring the UK’s total commitment to the LAF to over £60 million. The LAF are on the frontline in the fight against Daesh.
In their discussion, Michael Fallon and Minister Mokbel focused on international terrorism and the security situation in the region including the challenges posed by Daesh. They shared thoughts on how the two countries can work together to further stability, security and peace in Lebanon.
In the meeting with Tobias Ellwood, the UK Minister for the Middle East reiterated the strong bilateral ties between the two countries, stressing that the UK is keen to see the election of a President as soon as possible and ready to work with any candidate agreed upon by the Lebanese. The Minister also discussed the UK’s continued support as one of the largest bilateral donors to the Syrian refugee crisis following on from the London conference, highlighting the importance of following up on the joint commitments made.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
The spread of terrorism from Daesh represents a threat to us all, and Lebanon is on the front line.
Lebanon is an important Defence ally and we have increased our support to help develop the Lebanese Armed Forces so they are able to strengthen their borders and protect their people.
Defence Minister Samir Mokbel said:
It was a fruitful visit to the United Kingdom where we discussed practical support for the Lebanese Armed Forces and developing the military cooperation to enhance the capabilities for fighting terrorism.
I welcomed the UK Government’s position on what it has provided so far and what it has promised to deliver for the training of the Lebanese army and support in protecting the borders.
Note to Editors
Strengthening the capacity of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to defend Lebanon’s national integrity is a UK priority. Our intention to invest £19.8million in mentoring and training more than 5000 Lebanese Armed Forces by 2019 brings our total commitment to the LAF border programme to nearly £50million, and LAF overall to over £60million since 2012.