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Internal Security Forces Training Academy

David T. Johnson, Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Beirut, Lebanon
March 31, 2008

Good afternoon everyone, and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet with me here today. I am very pleased to have been invited to visit your academy and speak with you here about the important work you are doing in defense of your great country and how enthusiastic the United States Government is to support your essential mission.

Supporting the democratic government of Lebanon, and the people of Lebanon, are urgent priorities of the United States. We are working to see the rapid and full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701; to see established the full sovereignty of a Lebanese government representing all of its people, and a Lebanese Internal Security Force (ISF) capable of protecting Lebanon’s people, sovereignty and dignity. Our support for the ISF will help them meet this challenge.

The modernization and enhancement of the Internal Security Force is critical for Lebanon to maintain a society based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. In order to achieve this, we have launched a campaign to enhance ISF capabilities, specifically the training, equipment and upgrades to this and other facilities to help Lebanon combat the terrorist and other criminal threats the country faces.

The U.S. Government assistance program, which my office, the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement manages, will help the ISF enforce the rule of law, cement government control over all Lebanese territory, and protect the Lebanese people. We are dedicated to assisting the ISF’s development into a modern police force operating in a democratic society, making its own decisions and setting its own priorities.

I am very encouraged by what I have seen here today, and by the positive reports I receive back in Washington about the fine work our team is doing here on the ground. Equally impressive is the enthusiasm with which the ISF is embracing this program. We share your enthusiasm.

As you know, the challenges in Lebanon are manifold. The international community must redouble its efforts to support Lebanon’s legitimate government, Lebanese security forces, and those Lebanese who share our desire for a strong, sovereign Lebanese state. Our assistance to the ISF is an important part of the United States’ contribution to these efforts.

U.S. and international support for an independent and democratic Lebanon is strong and non-negotiable. There are few nations in the world where the perils to sovereignty and democracy are so starkly contrasted with a burning desire for freedom, justice, and peace. Even in this time of tension, Lebanon remains a place of great hope. I see evidence of that hope here today, in the hearts of the ISF officers who undertake great risk and sacrifice to protect their country and its citizens.

The training and assistance you receive here at this academy is but one example of the U.S. Government’s commitment to peace and security in Lebanon, and I am honored to have the opportunity to spend my time here with you today. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the ISF, and we are committed to seeing this effort through. We look forward to the day when other countries turn to Lebanon and the ISF as the model for how a professional police force operates effectively in a democratic society and protects the citizens it serves.



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