SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Mr. Prime Minister, welcome.  If you’d like to proceed with your remarks.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Sure.  Today, I met Secretary Pompeo, whom I consider a great friend of Lebanon.  I thanked him for the U.S. Government’s continued support to Lebanon and especially of the Lebanese Armed Forces and national security forces.  I reaffirmed our partnership and joint commitment to the fight against terrorism.

I also confirmed to the Secretary our commitment to continuing the negotiation process led by Ambassador Satterfield on behalf of the U.S. Government concerning our land and maritime borders.  The proposal was communicated to the president of the republic and the speaker of the parliament and to me.  We consider the process to be viable and will continue to support constitutional next step leading up to a final decision in the coming months, hopefully September.

Equally, there is a continued support for the CEDRE Conference and Capital Investment Plan, which are essential to the revival of the Lebanese economy.  We are dedicated to advancing these initiatives which will bolster security and stability for Lebanon and the region.  Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and welcome again.

I’ve gotten to know the prime minister well over the past years, and I appreciate you coming to join and have a visit here today.  During our conversation, I reiterated the United States commitment to a bright future for the people of Lebanon.  And as part of that commitment, we continue to support the credible state institutions inside of Lebanon.  They are essential to preserving Lebanese security, stability, and sovereignty, and they are essential to making sure that the needs of all of the Lebanese people are met.

They are also essential to an effective response to the many political, economic, and humanitarian challenges in Lebanon.  This is a region that is threatened by Iran and is a nation threatened by its proxy Hizballah, and we welcome the prime minister’s courageous commitment to keep taking full responsibility for Lebanon’s defense.

We also welcome his commitment to undertake the ambitious and necessary reforms which will unlock future international assistance for Lebanon’s economy.  And we want to say thank you as well, and welcome to the commitment that they have made to providing refugees, especially the now more than 1 million that have come from Syria into Lebanon.  You’ve provided them shelter from the repressive and depraved Assad regime, and we appreciate that.  And we look forward to continuing to make further progress on our partnership.

I also am very appreciative of the prime minister’s statement about the commitment to make progress towards the resumption of productive expert-level discussions for the handful of remaining points with respect to the Blue Line and the initiation discussions on the Israel-Lebanon maritime border.  We are prepared to participate as a mediator and facilitator in the maritime discussions, and we do hope that we will soon see substantive discussions on these important issues, the resolution of which would be greatly beneficial to Lebanon and to the broader region.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you again for visiting today.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you so much.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good luck to you.  It was great to be with you.  Thank you.  Thank you, all.

 

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