POLICY Statement

May 4, 2023: ATFL Applauds Bipartisan Members of Congress and the State Department on Urgent Need for an Elected Lebanese President Capable of Rescuing Lebanon from Its Crises

May 04, 2023

Washington, DC, May 4th, 2023 The American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese descent, commends the statements that have been issued over the past week by the State Department and bipartisan leaders in the US Senate and House of Representatives on the urgent need for an elected Lebanese president who exhibits the appropriate qualities that are necessary to rescue the country from its crises.

Today, the Chair and Ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, Congressmen Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Dean Phillips (D-MN) issued a bipartisan statement affirming that “Lebanon is at a critical juncture and requires leadership from a president free of corruption who can unite the country, promote transparency and accountability, and put the interests of the Lebanese people above individual enrichment or outside influence.”
Earlier this week, the US Department of State issued a statement on May 1st, exactly six months after the start of Lebanon’s presidential vacancy, making clear that “while it is for Lebanon’s elected leaders to form their own government, the United States believes Lebanon needs a president free of corruption who can unite the country, advocate for transparency and accountability, put the interests of Lebanon’s people first, move towards national unity, and implement critical economic reforms, chief among them those required to secure an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.”
On April 25th, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jim Risch (R-ID), Chair and Ranking Republican of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to President Biden, “urging the US to work closely with our allies and partners in the region to support a legitimate democratic process and presidential candidates that, unlike previous presidents, will demonstrate the ability to serve and be accountable to the people of Lebanon.” 
ATFL President Ed Gabriel said, “With the continued presidential vacancy surpassing the six month mark, we thank the bipartisan Congressional leadership and the Biden Administration for urging Lebanon’s leaders to do right by its people with the expeditious election of a president who can unite the country and swiftly enact the reforms needed to rescue its economy from crisis.” He added, “this week’s statements are excellent examples of the kind of clarity that is needed from the US and its allies in the international community to encourage the election of a president who inhabits the characteristics necessary to lead the country toward recovery. It is in the hands of Lebanon’s leaders to put the people above their personal interests, end the political stalemate, and save the country.”

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