UK, U.S. Envoys Discuss Border Security with Army Chief as Agreement Inked

Within the framework of the High Level Steering Committee, British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard met Monday with the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces General Joseph Aoun for their first meeting on the Land Border Security Project.

A British Embassy statement said the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the on-going UK and U.S. support for the LAF and the border project, including the construction, training, and equipment being provided in order to reach the goal of “securing the entirety of the Lebanon-Syria border.”

Ambassador Shorter also signed an updated LAF-UK Joint Undertaking with General Aoun from 2013. The agreement aims to commit to securing the entirety of the Lebanese border with Syria and the training of over 11,000 LAF troops by 2019, in addition to building watchtowers and delivering equipment to the Land Border Regiments.

“The UK is a long term, proud supporter of the Lebanese Armed Forces. The signing of this Joint Undertaking is another UK commitment to securing Lebanon’s border with Syria, supporting the LAF as the sole security provider in Lebanon, and helping to bring Lebanese State authority to vulnerable near-border communities,” Ambassador Shorter said.

“By 2019, this Joint Undertaking commits the UK to train over 11,000 LAF troops for internal and border security operations, and equip, mentor, and train 4,000 troops from the LAF’s Land Border Regiments for their specialized border security mission,” he added.

“During our meeting today – the first High Level Steering Committee with Commander Aoun – we, and my U.S. counterpart, reviewed the excellent progress on this program so far. Over 70% of the border is secure, and communities’ sense of security up, significantly. I praise the excellent work of the LAF, and continue to offer them the UK’s full support,” Shorter went on to say.