BEIRUT: United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy Matthew Spence highlighted Friday the strong military cooperation between his country and Lebanon, emphasizing that the Lebanese Army was the “sole legitimate” force defending Lebanon, the U.S. embassy said.
The visiting U.S. official underscored the Department of Defense’s continuing joint effort to strengthen the capacity of the Lebanese Armed Forces, “recognizing its importance, as Lebanon’s sole legitimate defense force, in securing Lebanon’s borders and defending the sovereignty and independence of the state.”
Spence held separate talks with President Michel Sleiman, Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly, United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon Commander Major General Paolo Serra, and other senior Lebanese military officials.
In his meetings, Spence discussed Lebanon’s political and security situation and regional issues, the embassy said in a statement.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 26, 2013, on page 2.