British Ambassador (Designate) HE Mr Hugo Shorter called on Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence Samir Moqbel at the ministry, to formally announce a $10 million UK support package for the establishment and equipping of a fourth Land Border Regiment (LBR) in what will be the latest phase of the UK’s ‘train and equip’ partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
After the meeting Ambassador Shorter said:
I am proud to announce that the UK will support the Lebanese Army in establishing a fourth land border regiment. This will further secure the remaining 100km stretch of Lebanon’s border and complement the outstanding work of the Army’s three existing land border regiments.
The fourth LBR will have state of the art communications equipment and cameras, mobile observation platforms, border watchtowers and Land Rovers to help secure and mobilize LAF positions along the border. We are proud to help the brave men and women of the Lebanese Army who are protecting Lebanon’s stability during this difficult time in the region.
We recognise that Lebanon continues to face great challenges, including from terrorism and the spill over of the Syria conflict. We are determined to stand by Lebanon’s side as it continues to defend its sovereignty and secure its stability and prosperity. It was inspiring to see the courage of the land border regiments who are on the frontline securing and protecting their country’s borders.
Minister Moqbel welcomed the UK’s ongoing support and assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces. He said the Army has shown high levels of competence at an important, indeed crucial time for Lebanon which is being targeted by terrorists. He added that the Army is crucial in fighting terrorism.
The meeting followed Ambassador Shorter’s first visit to the LBR in Chadra a day earlier where it all began to see firsthand the success of the Lebanese Army’s project to secure the country’s borders. He was accompanied by RADM Joseph Sarkis and British Defence Attache Lt Col Chris Gunning. In Akkar, Ambassador Shorter was briefed by senior Lebanese officers on how the LBRs are identifying, deterring and interdicting activities by illegal armed actors. This activity has enormously reduced cross-border smuggling and secured the livelihoods of communities in the area.
Notes to Editors
This new funding will conclude our $50 million ‘train and equip’ programme to establish and strengthen the land border regiments, which is the largest part of the UK’s support programme to the LAF.
The Lebanese Armed Forces’ Land Border Regiments have been operational since 2013. They are charged with detecting, deterring, and disrupting border attacks against Lebanon, and gaining the trust of local border communities. They have stopped shelling from Syria. They are repelling daily attacks by Daesh. Working with the Intervention Brigades, they stopped a significant attack last summer in Arsal - breaking Daesh’s “unstoppable” narrative. They continue to be the Lebanese State’s eyes, ears, and first responders across 75% of the Lebanon-Syria border.
The UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, released last month, announced, ‘We will also increase our support to Lebanon to reinforce its security’. As the British Prime Minister said when he visited Lebanon in September, “the United Kingdom wants to see a strong, secure and prosperous Lebanon”. And as the Foreign Secretary said after the attack in Southern Beirut, “the UK stands should to shoulder with Lebanon in its fight against terrorism”.