ATFL Welcomes Senate Resolution Recognizing The Beirut Port Explosions
Washington, DC, August 6, 2021 (ATFL) – The American Task Force on Lebanon (AFTL), a leadership organization comprised of Americans of Lebanese heritage, welcomes Senate Resolution 337 co-sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) marking one year since the Beirut Port explosion.
ATFL continues to work with members of Congress and the Biden Administration to support the people of Lebanon through humanitarian assistance, support to the American universities, and sustaining the operational capabilities of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
“Yesterday marked the anniversary of the explosion at the Port of Beirut that killed hundreds and injured thousands of people. One year on, no one has been held accountable and Lebanon is still rebuilding from the tragedy,” said Senator Shaheen in a statement to the American Task Force on Lebanon. “The people of Lebanon deserve justice and a full investigation into the explosion. I’m leading a resolution to deliver a bipartisan message from the Senate in support of the Lebanese people and to echo their calls for a legitimate, responsive government.”
In a statement to ATFL, Senator Rubio said, “The United States stands with the people of Lebanon, who deserve a fair and transparent investigation into what happened one year ago at the Port of Beirut. Words will never bring back the hundreds killed or heal the thousands injured, but together we can demand justice and accountability in their honor.”
S.Res. 337 “Recognizing the anniversary of the explosion at the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, and expressing solidarity with the Lebanese people” acknowledges the drastic impact of the blast on the Lebanese. It notes the UN estimate that “3,200,000 Lebanese nationals and refugees are in need in Lebanon, including 3,000,000 people in need of health assistance and 2,300,000 people in need of food and agricultural assistance.”
The Resolution acknowledges the US government response to these needs and points out that Lebanese investigations into the blast “have been stalled and no answers have been provided to the Lebanese public.” Pointing to Hezbollah’s role in controlling Beirut Port, the text reiterated that “the people of Lebanon across the political and sectoral spectrum have demanded accountability…and have requested their governing and economic institutions implement meaningful reform, accountability, and transparency.”
S.Res. 337 supports the demand of the people “for transparency, accountability, and an end to the systemic and endemic corruption in the Government” and efforts by the US and its international partners for humanitarian relief that directly benefits the people of Lebanon.
It also commends the EU and the US for cooperating on sanctions to promote good governance in Lebanon, calling on its leaders to undertake an independent and transparent investigation into the blast, and to implement a “stable, democratic, and legitimate government.”
ATFL President Ambassador Ed Gabriel remarked, “ATFL welcomes this Senate Resolution and the House Resolution recently introduced by the US-Lebanon Friendship Caucus. These Resolutions are clear markers that Lebanon has not been forgotten by the United States. Lebanon’s people are enduring multiple crises that threaten the stability and security of the country. We are proud of those members of Congress who have worked with ATFL and the Lebanese American community in standing up for the Lebanese people in these most challenging times. ATFL will continue its work in Washington to ensure that the plight of the Lebanese people is at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda.”
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.