POLICY Statement

June 2, 2023: ATFL Applauds Bipartisan Letter Co-Authored By HFAC Chair And Ranking Member

June 02, 2023

Washington, DC, June 2nd, 2023 The American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese descent, applauds the bipartisan letter co-signed by the Chairman and Ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY), calling on the United States and its European partners to reiterate the urgency that  the Lebanese parliament  elect a president who is free from corruption and undue external influence and for the Lebanese government to deliver vital economic reforms.
Delivered on May 30th  to  US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, this bipartisan letter made especially clear to the Biden Administration of its need to, “use all available authorities, including additional targeted sanctions on specific individuals contributing to corruption and impeding progress in the country, to make clear to Lebanon’s political class that the status quo is not acceptable.”
The Congressmen’s letter came one day before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing on the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget request for the Middle East and North Africa, in which Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf and Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for the Middle East at USAID Jeanne Pryor were called as witnesses. When asked by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on the utility of sanctions as a measure of the Biden Administration to address the unacceptable status quo in Lebanon, Assistant Secretary Leaf responded in the affirmative, saying “We are working collaboratively with several regional partners, European partners, to push the Lebanese parliament to do its job. The elected representatives of the Lebanese people have failed to do their jobs; the Speaker of the Parliament has failed to hold a session since January to allow members to put candidates forward for the presidency to vote on them up or down and to get to a choice, to get to elect a president who will then appoint.” 
ATFL applauds the efforts of the United States, from both Congress and the Administration, to support the Lebanese people and encourage their future well-being. On May 18th, ATFL met with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), to urge continued American  commitment to support the Lebanese Armed Forces and to provide humanitarian aid to Lebanon’s vulnerable populations, as well as active engagement in supporting Lebanon’s democratic selection of a president who is committed to reforms, addresses the vital economic reforms, and is transparent with and accountable to the Lebanese people.
The statements that have been issued over the last several weeks by both the State Department and bipartisan leaders in the US Senate and House of Representatives are extremely crucial to supporting Lebanon’s urgent need to rescue itself from its multiple crises.

ATFL President Ed Gabriel said, “ATFL will continue to work with those in Washington who have been instrumental in crafting a strong US response to the Lebanese political paralysis, which has obstructed efforts to enact urgent economic reforms. Senators Menendez, Risch, and Shaheen, along with bipartisan colleagues in the House like Congressmen McCaul, Meeks, Wilson, Diaz Balart and Phillips, are invaluable friends of Lebanon.” He added, “Their partners at the State Department under the leadership of Secretary Blinken, Assistant Secretary Leaf, and others also deserve our thanks for all of their efforts to assist Lebanon during this time of unprecedented need. These friendships should not be taken for granted by Lebanon’s elected officials as they continue to squander critical opportunities for their country’s recovery.”

View all
Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved by ATFL