Britain’s Armed Forces Minister, MP James Heappey, paid a one-day visit to Lebanon yesterday. This was Minister Heappey’s first visit to Lebanon, where he saw firsthand how British projects support the Lebanese Armed Forces in their mission to maintain stability across Lebanon.
The British Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr. Ian Collard, and the British Embassy’s Defense Attaché, Lt. Col. Lee Saunders, accompanied Minister Heappey.
The Minister met with Acting Defense Minister Maurice Sleem and Lebanese Army Commander General Joseph Aoun. They discussed military cooperation between the UK and Lebanon.
At the Third Land Border Regiment (LBR) on the border with Syria, Minister Heappey heard from senior Lebanese officers how the UK’s work to build LBR capacity has improved efforts to combat cross-border smuggling and activities terrorists. This has made the area safer for local communities. UK support has enabled the deployment of four Land Border Regiments (LBRs), the construction of over 78 border towers, the provision of 350 Land Rovers, 100 armored patrol vehicles and the training of over 20,000 Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
At the end of his visit, Minister Heappey said:
The UK and Lebanon are close friends and partners. I was proud to see firsthand the positive impact of the military cooperation between our two countries that has lasted for more than a decade.
When needed, the UK stands with Lebanon and our partners around the world to address common challenges. In the current context, it is more important than ever that we continue to work together to combat threats to global peace and security.
I very much enjoyed my first visit to this beautiful country and hope to return.
The British Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr Ian Collard, said:
I am delighted to welcome the Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, for his first visit to Lebanon. The Lebanese army is essential to ensure the stability of Lebanon and to protect the Lebanese people in these difficult times. Since 2010, the UK has committed over £87 million to optimize LAF capabilities, underscoring the UK Government’s commitment to a secure and stable Lebanon.