US Ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea said that the United States “has been and will continue to be on the side of the Lebanese people” as politicians continue to squabble over the formation of a new government.

In remarks to the local Al-Jadeed channel, Shea noted that the mission government, which was proposed in the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, focuses on addressing the repercussions of the Aug. 4 port explosion, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the implementation of some of the major reforms necessary to achieve economic stability and to resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The ambassador emphasized that a capable government “should start preparing for the elections scheduled to take place in less than a year.”

The United States views any attempt to disrupt the government as opposing the kind of government Lebanon needs during this crisis, according to Shea.

Speaking about the United States’ dealings with the Lebanese Army and its commander, General Joseph Aoun, the US ambassador said she regarded “Army Commander Joseph Aoun in his current position, and I do not have any opinion on whether he could be a suitable candidate for the presidency.”

She continued: “He is a good partner for us in his current position as commander… We have invested USD 2.2 billion in the Lebanese army over the past ten years, and I think the investment we have made is important and we are proud of.”

Touching on the crippling economic crisis, Shea emphasized her country’s commitment to help the Lebanese Army overcome the situation.

She stressed that Washington “will double the aid provided to the Lebanese army this year by USD 15 million through the Foreign Military Funding Program… Therefore, we will invest USD 120 million with our partners in equipment and training.”

Asked about the Iranian delivery of fuel shipments to Beirut amid a severe shortage in the country, Shea told Al Jadeed that that was not a viable solution to the problem.

“If you get rid of the rampant corruption in the energy and electricity sectors, half of the problem will be solved immediately,” she noted, adding: “What Iran is looking for is some kind of satellite state that they can exploit to pursue their agenda.”

Source » trackpersia