Department of Defense Spokesperson Commander Jessica L. McNulty provided the following readout:

Performing the Duties of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Mara Karlin and Lebanese Chief of Defense Gen. Joseph Aoun met today in the Pentagon to discuss the U.S.-Lebanon bilateral defense partnership and shared security interests. 

Dr. Karlin commended Gen. Aoun for the Lebanese Armed Forces’ (LAF) role in enabling Lebanon’s internal stability, in facilitating humanitarian efforts following the August 2020 Beirut Port Explosion, and in supporting Lebanon’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Karlin praised the LAF’s key role as a widely respected institution, including representation from all of Lebanon’s 18 religious and ethnic groups.  Both parties reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the right of the Lebanese people to peaceful protest. 

Dr. Karlin emphasized the United States’ steadfast support for the LAF.  The United States is the LAF’s primary security partner and has provided the LAF with over $2.5 billion in security assistance since 2006.  This assistance supports the ability of the LAF to secure Lebanon’s borders, counter terrorist threats, and build a professional defense institution. 

Both leaders committed to strengthen the strategic partnership and to continue close cooperation on regional security issues.  Gen. Aoun expressed appreciation for the United States’ support to the LAF.

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