Press Release: ATFL Delegation Completes Its Visit to Lebanon
Washington, DC, April 8, 2022 (ATFL) – The American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese heritage, led a ten day delegation to Lebanon headed by Amb. Ed Gabriel (Ret.), President of ATFL.
The purpose of the visit was to call attention to the worsening economic situation in the country and the need to urgently negotiate an International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt-relief package, as well as the importance of holding free, fair, and on-time elections.
In the presence of Dorothy Shea, the United States Ambassador to Lebanon, the delegation met with senior leadership in the current Lebanese government including President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. The delegation also met with the Deputy Prime Minister Saade Chami, Minister of Interior Bassam Mawlawi, Minister of Finance Youssef Khalil, Minister of Economy and Trade Amin Salam, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Abdallah Bou Habib.
To gain a fuller understanding of the security concerns in Lebanon, the delegation was briefed by General Joseph Aoun of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Brigadier General Maroun el Kobayati of the South Litani Sector of the LAF, and Head of Mission of the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Major General Aroldo Lázaro. Furthermore, the group visited with the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) Joanna Wronecka as well as the Deputy UNSCOL and Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator Najat Rochdi, in addition to other representatives of UN missions in Lebanon.
ATFL met with former and current parliamentarians, nascent and other political movements, civil society organizations, activists, Druze, Christian (Maronite Catholic and Greek Orthodox), and Muslim (Sunni and Shi’a) religious leaders, and members of the media in anticipation of the upcoming 2022 parliamentary elections.
“The situation in Lebanon is dire, caused by decades of political corruption that put individual interests ahead of the nation’s interest,” said ATFL President Ed Gabriel. “We urged the government to expeditiously negotiate an IMF debt-relief package without further delay and conduct free, fair, and on-time elections in order for Lebanese citizens to elect trusted leaders who will address reforms that meet the needs of the people.”
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The American Task Force on Lebanon is 501(C)3 nonprofit organization of prominent Americans of Lebanese heritage, who educate for the strengthening of the historic U.S.-Lebanon relationship. The mission and objectives of ATFL shall always be in the best interest of the United States and will promote the national unity, independence, and prosperity of a democratic and multi-sectarian Lebanon.