Beirut, Lebanon—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, traveled to Lebanon on an official visit. In Beirut, Chairman Engel met with senior Lebanese government officials including President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and a number of Lebanese lawmakers. He discussed the importance of the U.S.-Lebanese relationship and the role the United States can play in working to strengthen Lebanese institutions. He underscored the gravity of the Iranian threat and the importance of not allowing Iran or its proxies, particularly Hezbollah, to strengthen their position in the region. He heard from leaders about the challenges stemming from the ongoing war in Syria, including the refugee crisis, and offered views that a political solution would foster the conditions for a safe, dignified, and voluntary return home.
Chairman Engel also met with Lebanese military officials and American servicemembers posted in Lebanon. He visited several Lebanese military installations including a position near the border with Syria. He expressed his hope for close ongoing security cooperation to help the Lebanese improve border security.
Additionally, Chairman Engel heard from representatives of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and heard directly from Syrian and Iraqi refugees about their plight and long-term aspirations. He committed to continue pushing for assistance to ease the burden on refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere.
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