US and Lebanon discuss security assistance

A senior US diplomat on Monday discussed his country's support to Lebanese security forces with top government officials and security commanders, the US Embassy said. US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, David Johnson, met with Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, Interior Minister Hassan Sabei and senior security officials, the embassy said in a statement. Johnson "reaffirmed the United States' steadfast support of Lebanon and discussed the ongoing US$60 million [Lebanese] Internal Security Forces (ISF) assistance program, which is helping the ISF enforce the rule of law and protect the Lebanese people within their sovereign state," said the statement, referring to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces. The US has sharply increased its military assistance to Lebanon since the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel in a show of support to Saniora's government. US assistance to Lebanon was US$270 million in 2007, more than five times the amount provided a year earlier.