BEIRUT: The U.S. is ready to provide Lebanese security services with equipment and training to help them fight terrorism, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said after holding talks with CIA director John O. Brennan.
According to a statement released by Machnouk’s office Tuesday, the minister, who is on a visit to the United States, said that his meeting with Brennan was positive.
The U.S. official voiced his country’s readiness to provide the Internal Security Forces and General Security with equipment and to offer training to members of security services.
Also on the second day of his visit to Washington, Machnouk held talks at the State Department with Anne C. Richard, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration.
Machnouk and Richard discussed challenges facing Lebanon as a result of the influx of over 1 million Syrian refugees.
Machnouk detailed measures taken by the government to organize the presence of Syrian refugees and steps taken by the General Security in this regard.
The Interior Minister also highlighted the importance of increasing assistance to host communities in Lebanon through supporting the Crisis Response Plan prepared by Lebanon to meet their needs and those of Syrian refugees.
Lebanon will ask for funds to implement this plan during an international donor conference to be held at the end of the month.
For her part, Richard stressed the importance of the role played by the government and the Interior Ministry in dealing with the refugee crisis.
Machnouk also discussed security and political developments in Lebanon and the region with Gerald Feierstein, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.
The minister said that through steps taken by its government, Interior Ministry and security services, Lebanon was able to protect itself from fires surrounding it, underscoring the importance of U.S. assistance for Lebanese security agencies.
Machnouk urged the swift appointment of a new U.S. ambassador to Lebanon to replace David Hale, who was posted to Pakistan, saying such a move would stress the U.S. commitment to Lebanon.
For their part, the U.S. officials expressed their support for Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence.