POLICY Statement

March 25, 2020: ATFL Announces New Policy Brief on Targeted US Diplomacy Toward Lebanon

March 25, 2020
Washington, DC, March 25, 2020 (ATFL) – The American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL) announces the release of its policy brief “6 Key Steps for Targeted US Diplomacy to Stabilize Lebanon and Advance US Foreign Policy” in collaboration with the Middle East Institute and the Lebanese International Finance Executives.
Lebanon’s political and economic crises are spiraling out of control. Over 50% of the country has slipped into poverty, food scarcity is a reality, and protesters nationwide have grown desperate. The country’s political leadership is coming up on its seventh month of political gridlock. Without a government in place, Lebanon is unable make reforms that would unlock greatly needed international aid.
ATFL and its collaborators recommend the United States take immediate action through the following steps:
1. Empower a new high level international contact groupto coordinate an international diplomatic initiative to produce constructive action by Lebanon’s parliament and state officials this spring.
2. Establish an international direct assistance fundthat bypasses Lebanon’s governmental institutions to provide a social safety net in support of the Lebanese people.
3. Reinforce US diplomacy with a security strategythat maintains close cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
4. Work with our international partners on an economic recovery agendawhen there is a credible and empowered reform government in place.
5. Make Lebanon a key focus in the Biden Administration'sglobal pro-democracy agenda.
6. Make Lebanon an exampleof the Biden Administration’s stepped-up efforts to counter global corruption.
The policy brief was released at a webinar launch event involving a panel discussion featuring  Patricia Karam from the International Republican Institute, Paul Salem and Randa Slim from the Middle East Institute, and Jacques Tohme from the Lebanese International Finance Executives.
ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel noted that “The release of this document represents an important consensus among more than 20 leading US-Lebanon policy experts…speaking with one unified and forceful voice that will hopefully demonstrate to the Lebanese people that they are not alone in their fight to take back their country and make it a beacon of peace, prosperity, religious diversity, and democracy.”
Moderator and ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader added, “We know that a solution to Lebanon can only be undertaken by the Lebanese people and we as Lebanese-Americans are here to support them in this process.
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