BEIRUT, June 29 (KUNA) -- The visiting British Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt on Friday announced the launching of a new training center for the Lebanese military in Bekaa's Riyaq, east of Lebanon.
Burt said at the end of his visit that the center would comprise a specialized training facility for the Lebanese Armed Forces Border Training Center, the British embassy in Beirut said in a statement.
He said that it is a part of the UK's public commitment to train 11,000 LAF troops for urban and rural operations by 2019, and 14,000 troops by 2021.
The minister reiterated the UK's ongoing support to Lebanon and its host communities to alleviate the burden of refugees, and discussed with the President, PM-designate and caretaker Foreign Minister the impact on Lebanon of hosting such significant numbers of refugees.
During the visit, Burt held constructive meetings with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri and caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, the minister said.
He added that he looked forward to the swift formation of a government that will "deliver much needed reforms, especially on the economy.
The "UK recognizes the enormity of the challenges faced by Lebanon, in providing, at no small cost, shelter, education, and opportunities to work for so many who have fled appalling violence, fear and destruction in Syria,' he noted.
At an Informal Tented Settlement in the Bekaa, Burt met a refugee family benefiting from the UK-funded cash program delivered in partnership with the UN's World Food Program.
The minister also visited a public school in the Chouf region.
Concluding his second visit to the country in a year, Burt said he was pleased to be back in Lebanon and "see how the UK - as a strong supporter of Lebanon - is delivering its commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with Lebanon now and into the future, providing impactful support and partnership with Lebanon." (end)