American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met in New York today with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and took part in a meeting of the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Strategic Cooperation Forum, Pentagon Spokesman George Little said.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Little said Hagel joined Secretary of State John F. Kerry in meeting with the foreign ministers of the six-member GCC for the third iteration of the SCF, a consultative body formed in 2012 to enhance multilateral cooperation between the United States and the GCC on a range of common issues.
During the SCF, Little said “Secretary Hagel reiterated the United States’ commitment to the region and underscored how collaborative approaches toward regional defense made the Middle East more secure and stable, a shared interest of the United States and the GCC.”
Hagel, he said, detailed recent progress on several areas of defense cooperation, including the success of the May 2013 International Mine Countermeasures Exercise and multinational engagement on ballistic missile defense at the Gulf Combined Air Operations Center, while urging further collaboration in these defense initiatives. The SCF concluded with Secretary Kerry moderating a discussion on regional issues, including Syria, Iran, and Yemen, Little added.
Hagel also met with Lebanese President Sleiman “to affirm the strength of the U.S.-Lebanon partnership and our shared view of the importance of the Lebanese Armed Forces as Lebanon’s sole legitimate defense force to Lebanon’s stability and unity,” Little said.
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