Senior Officers from UK Defense College Visit Lebanon

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An international delegation of fifteen senior military officers from the British Royal College of Defense Studies (RCDS) has visited Lebanon for one week, the British embassy in Beirut said on Monday.

The delegation, led by Major General Craig Lawrence, visited Lebanon to “learn about the political, economic, security, and social challenges facing Lebanon and how these might relate to regional and international stability,” the embassy said in a statement.

RCDS is a UK based course for military officers and senior government civil servants from the UK and allied nations. The aim of the course is to instruct members in defense and international security matters.

“As part of their overseas study tour, the RCDS delegation of Colonels and Brigadiers from the UK, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Canada, Netherlands, Chile, Colombia, China, India, and Uganda have met with President Michel Aoun, Defense Minister Yaccoub Sarraf, LAF (Lebanese Army) Commander General Joseph Aoun and industrialists and businessmen from across Lebanese society,” the embassy announced.

They “saw firsthand how the UK supports Lebanon and the Lebanese Armed Forces during a visit to the 4th Land Border Regiment at Baalbek,” it added.

Through meetings with prominent members of the business community, they hope to understand “how Lebanon can move the economy forward towards success,” the embassy said.

The officers also visited the headquarters of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Naqoura and met with the Force's Commander Maj. Gen. Michael Beary to talk about “some of the challenges the U.N. faces in conducting a large U.N. mission in a volatile part of the world.”

Welcoming the course to Beirut, British Ambassador Hugo Shorter said: “It is a privilege to host top military officers from the UK and the world as part of their Royal College of Defense Studies study tour in Lebanon. Their visit to Lebanon is another example of the strategic importance that Lebanon has in anchoring regional stability, and the security challenges it faces as it counters extremism and unrest.”

“We’re proud of our strong defense links with Lebanon and I am certain that the officers' experience will be like no other in the region,” Shorter added.

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