The Commander of the Lebanese Army, General Joseph Aoun, called on Monday for the continuation of support for his country from friends, led by the United States of America.
This came during Aoun’s visit to the US Navy ship USNS CHOCTAW COUNTY, which is anchored at Beirut Naval Base in the Lebanese capital, according to an army statement.
Aoun was accompanied on his visit by the US Ambassador to Beirut, Dorothy Shea, and the Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Major General Stefano Del Col, along with a number of officers.
“The army is the backbone of the country and the only protector of security and stability in the country,” Aoun said.
He expressed his thanks to the US authorities for their “support of the Lebanese army, specifically the navy, which plays a key role in controlling illegal smuggling and ensuring freedom of navigation in territorial waters, in cooperation and coordination with UNIFIL.”
He stressed “the importance of continuing this support on the part of friendly countries, foremost of which is the United States of America.”
About two years ago, Lebanon suffered the worst economic crisis in its modern history, which led to a financial collapse and negatively affected all sectors, including the army.
The US ambassador stressed, “Her country’s continued support for the navy, which carries out many sensitive tasks in the face of smuggling and terrorist operations to protect the territorial waters and the Lebanese people, and to contribute to the reconstruction of the Beirut Naval Base, in parallel with improving the operational capabilities of the navy.”
A large part of the Beirut Naval Base was destroyed after a huge explosion in the port of the capital, on August 4, 2020.
About a week ago, the US embassy said, on its website, that the US rapid transit ship’s visit is the first for an American naval vessel to visit a Lebanese naval base, and highlights the strong partnership between the two countries.