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Menendez, Risch: Lebanon’s Political Leaders Must Advance Genuine Reform

WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the one year anniversary of the Beirut port blast:

“One year after the tragic Beirut port blast which killed more than 200 people, injured thousands, and broke an already fragile economy, Lebanon has fallen further into crisis. Political leaders have failed to form a government that can effectively respond to the needs of the Lebanese people. Instead of promoting accountability for the devastating blast, they have prioritized their own narrow interests, kowtowed to Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and failed to respond to the international community’s efforts to help.

“We support the people of Lebanon in their call for the formation of an effective, legitimate, and representative government that can serve the needs of the people, work with the international community on a sustainable economic path forward, and counter the malign influence of Iran. Only by advancing genuine reform and committing to a forensic audit of the state’s finances can Lebanon be pulled back from the brink and spared the fate of its neighbors.

“As the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we have supported a stronger U.S.-Lebanon relationship by approving U.S. assistance that has eased the burden on ordinary Lebanese and made the Lebanese Armed Forces a more capable and professional force. The United States stands ready to help the people of Lebanon. It is time that Lebanon’s political leaders do the same.”