ATFL and MEI Brief State Department on Lebanon Policy Recommendations
At a meeting with senior State Department officials yesterday, the leadership of American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese descent, and the president of the Middle East Institute (MEI), the oldest Washington based institution dedicated solely to the study of the Middle East, discussed policy recommendations for US-Lebanon relations.
In their meeting, the ATFL and MEI officials reviewed issues related to supporting the people of Lebanon and encouraging a more responsive government.
They highlighted the urgency of supporting a United Nations fund to provide assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces (ISF) to support the livelihood of the troops and their families, as well as the significance of the Levantine energy deal that will see Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity sent to Lebanon.
This discussion included: encouraging continued US diplomatic leadership on the Lebanon issue; tying IMF and international economic aid to Lebanon based on government proposals that enact needed reforms; supporting on-time, free, and fair elections in May; increasing humanitarian support for the Lebanese people; the use of sanctions and actions such as asset freezes to strongly condemning corruption in the Lebanese government; and promoting sustainable solutions to regional issues including maritime boundary negotiations with Israel.
Furthermore, the US should ensure that negotiations with Iran do not impact Lebanon negatively, and reassert that it is committed to safeguarding Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We are working hard to encourage the US and the international community to stand with the Lebanese people and help them along that path of renewal and reform,” said MEI President Paul Salem.
ATFL President Ed Gabriel added, “We are greatly encouraged that the State Department will seriously consider these recommendations and make clear that free and fair elections are an important milestone. We look forward to briefing policymakers in a public seminar and members of Congress and senior leadership in individual meetings on Capitol Hill to urge their support for Lebanon at this critical time.”