Richard Hails 'Partnership' with Lebanon as USS Ramage Visits Country
The United States Navy’s USS Ramage (DDG-61), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, entered the port of Lebanon for a one-day goodwill visit on Friday on the sidelines of its participation in “ongoing efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and free-flow commerce in the eastern Mediterranean,” the U.S. embassy said.
The USS Ramage is named for Vice Admiral Lawson P. Ramage, a notable submarine commander and Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.
During the visit to Lebanon, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard and U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Malloy hosted an on-board reception for U.S. and Lebanese officials.
The Ambassador and the Vice Admiral highlighted “the ongoing commitment of the United States to be a strong and enduring partner for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), with the goals of enhancing military-to-military cooperation and promoting security and stability in the region,” the embassy said in a statement.
Specifically, Ambassador Richard explained that, “this remarkable U.S. ship, docked in this remarkable Lebanese city speaks volumes about the partnership between the U.S. and Lebanese militaries.”
“That’s the important word: partnership. In speaking about our relationship with the Lebanese Armed Forces, people often focus on the specific military equipment that we’ve provided to the LAF – aircraft, artillery, Bradley fighting vehicles, Humvees, ammunition, etc. However, our military relationship is much broader than just equipment, and this ship visit is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far our partnership has come,” Richard added.
“Thousands of LAF officers have trained with us in the United States, and they are also hosting our U.S military trainers on Lebanese bases, working side by side at all ranks. We have conducted joint exercises and shared best practices and innovations. And, yes, the U.S. military is a partner that can bring a ship like this to the port of Beirut, even in the midst of all the maritime challenges and tensions happening in the world right now,” the ambassador went on to say.
She added: “Many of our efforts and joint activities have been focused on land, where the LAF has made important gains in securing its borders and defeating terrorist threats. But our partnership also extends to the sea. The LAF has developed plans to improve its naval capabilities, and the U.S. is strongly supporting those efforts.”
Richard also stressed that Washington remains “committed to helping the Lebanese people during a period of very difficult economic challenges.”
“We are helping strengthen the Lebanese institutions that will defend the country’s sovereignty. And we are helping to anchor Lebanon to the community of democracies, which will safeguard the regional stability and security on which Lebanon’s economic future depends – including -- and perhaps especially -- at sea,” she said.
The ambassador noted that as the Eastern Mediterranean’s gas resources are developed by countries in the region, and “hopefully soon by Lebanon itself,” maritime security will only become more important.