Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Bayan Palace
Kuwait City, Kuwait
January 15, 2014


Date: 01/15/2014 Description: Secretary of State John Kerry addresses reporters before a bilateral discussion with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati amid the Syria Donors' Conference in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on January 15, 2014. - State Dept ImageSECRETARY KERRY: I just want to say what a pleasure it is to meet with the Prime Minister. And I want to make it clear that President Obama and the United States stand very firmly behind our friends in Lebanon. The challenge of Lebanon is enormous; they have 870,000 refugees, and they are really feeling the spillover effects of the violence in Syria.

So, today, the United States will be providing an additional $76 million, which is the largest amount we have put in directly into Lebanon for the refugee challenge. In addition to that, we will continue to work very directly with the Lebanese armed forces and their ability to be able to stand up against the sectarian violence that is ripping apart Lebanon yet again. This is not new. So, we admire the efforts to put together a government, but we are very clear that that government needs to not provide an opportunity for legitimization of any terrorist organization or violence within Lebanon. We know it's very difficult, nothing is easy there.

But, Mr. Prime Minister, we are very much sympathetic to the challenges you are facing, and very sorry for the violence that stole a very good man, Mohamad Chatah. So we are here to help.

PRIME MINISTER MIKATI: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: And I look forward to our conversation.

PRIME MINISTER MIKATI: (Inaudible) for the financial support for the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and because I know the full support of Mr. Obama Administration to Lebanon since I've been in power, always supporting, recognizing what we are doing. And now yourself, Mr. Secretary, what you are doing for the whole peace process in the Middle East is very important, either about Iranian issue or about the Palestinian-Israeli issue, which we put and we press on your hand to proceed and to have it as soon as possible.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER MIKATI: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.