These deliveries, paid for by the American people, will help the army secure Lebanon’s borders and defeat extremist groups that have crossed it. Specifically, this week brought the delivery of more Hellfire missiles to the Lebanese Army.
Today, I can announce we are reaching another milestone, as I just discussed with Prime Minister Salam. The Lebanese government and army have requested additional aircraft from the United States: an armed Cessna and other light air support aircraft.
The United States will also arm a Cessna the U.S. previously provided to the Lebanese Army. It is our intention to support those requests for additional aircraft, using funds generously made available to Lebanon by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The army is not the only one protecting Lebanon, nor is it our only partner. We work with all the security services. Last week, we donated to the Internal Security Forces bomb detection tools, explosive safety gear, and other equipment. This is part of an ongoing partnership between America and the ISF, to help the ISF keep the streets of Lebanon safe.
We applaud Lebanon’s policy of dissociation from the conflict in Syria, just as we join in supporting your response to the dangerous spillover into Lebanon of that conflict.
We also commend the sacrifices of Lebanon’s security services in their mission to insulate Lebanon from this spillover. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the beheading of Lebanese soldiers by ISIL. The threat posed by ISIL is a challenge to us all.
The United States, too, knows the pain of ISIL’s barbarity committed against our own citizens. This brutality only strengthens our resolve to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, through military, intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic efforts. This effort will require time and persistence. But we are not waiting when it comes to helping right here in Lebanon with security and humanitarian assistance.
In addition to our security assistance, Secretary Kerry has just announced in Ankara that the United States is providing nearly 500 million dollars in additional humanitarian aid to help those affected by the war in Syria. Of that amount, 103.8 million dollars will be directed toward Lebanon to help Lebanese communities and refugees from Syria who are here.
Left unchecked, ISIL threatens your sovereignty, stability, and prosperity. Fortunately, Lebanon is not alone in dealing with this threat. And together, we will succeed. The United States has made clear that we will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in this region, or to help you counter the ISIL threat in your country. But success can best be built on unity and focus - unity within Lebanon, and between Lebanon and its friends. As I have said before, the absence of a president is depriving the country of an important symbol of unity, and distracting all of us from fully confronting the real threat.