Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Part of UK in Lebanon

21st March 2014 Beirut, Lebanon

SOVEREIGNTY, BORDERS AND KEEPING LEBANON OUT OF THE WAR

This week I visited Lebanon’s Northern border with the Lebanese Army. I wanted to see the way in which they are trying to enforce sovereignty at this challenging time, supported by UK projects.
meeting LAF troops manning checkpoints in new UK provided body armour
A series of UK funded border towers, some built (symbolically) with material previously used in Northern Ireland, are the most significant evidence in the area that a border actually exists. They cannot prevent all cross border activity, far from it. But they do mark Lebanese state determination to keep the war out. We are waiting for the results of an independent survey of local communities to see the impact.
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Checkpoints in the area are now manned by courageous LAF troops in UK provided body armour. This week alone they have stopped two vehicles packed with explosives heading for civilian areas. We have rebuilt the checkpoint on the outskirts of Hermel, where a recent suicide attack left two soldiers dead. It was good to see many UK provided Land Rovers on patrol.
'With LAF Commanders on Northern Border'
Real challenges lie ahead. We are now supporting the LAF to build a further eight observation posts on the North Eastern border, the most porous section, nearer the worst of the recent fighting in Yabroud. With many more refugees fleeing the fighting, and an increasing number of fighters (of both sides) inside Lebanon, the coming weeks are a real test for the new Lebanese government. They have to balance the need to tackle extremists with protection of local and civilian populations, while preventing an intensification of direct clashes between Lebanese and Syrian militias inside Lebanon. It is important that all parties, including those who normally say most about resisting external aggression, reject Syrian shelling of Lebanon’s citizens. More than ever, they must unite to put Lebanon’s interests first.
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The period ahead will require great wisdom, caution and neutrality. But it is a vital part of the effort to keep Syria’s war out of Lebanon.
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5 comments on “SOVEREIGNTY, BORDERS AND KEEPING LEBANON OUT OF THE WAR

  1. Its a very good work , and we hope to see more support from UK to Lebanon . The Lebanese people deserve a better live , and the Lebanese hope that united kingdom can support the Lebanese army to secure the border.
    Lebanon its an open country were they welcome everyone and we hope from united kingdom to help as much as they can to keep Lebanon safe .
    Again big thanks to the British government & British embassy in Lebanon for they support & please keep Syria’s war out of Lebanon .

  2. “Winning this civil war was hard. But winning peace will be much harder”
    (A.Lincoln).
    Dear Tom ,
    it can ´t be underestimated (in my point of view) of how IMPORTANT EVERY kind of UK support for keeping & guarantee Lebanon ´s FULL sovereignty esp. in times like these really is . Whether if it ´s at Lebanon ´s Northern border & in common with the Lebanese Army , ” symbolically” UK funded border towers – or by preventing more confrontations between L.A.F troops and Syrian violence willing extremists or terrorists. Terrorists for I ´m asking myself : what are the REAL intentions of such people INSIDE the Lebanon ?
    Surely not peaceful. So I do full agree to yr. statement , that esp. great wisdom (by the described new government ) is essential necessary for a survival of a FREE , SOVEREIGN LEBANON. To conclude : If this saying “Every picture tells a story” is really true – than is also every excellent picture in yr. short but outstanding report a living proof of a successfully Lebanese & UK partnership/friendship.

    “Every conflict starts in the heads / Jeder Konflikt beginnt in den Köpfen”.
    (Bertoldt Brecht , “3 – Penny – Opera”).

    Best wishes & take care of yourself , liebe Grüßle & geb acht auf Dich ,
    Ingo-Steven , Stuttgart

  3. Tom, I work at Southampton General Hospital as Private Patient & Overseas Coordinator for Cardiac & Neuro. We have had one of the Lebanese Soldiers here in the Uk training with our army admitted to this hospital following a RTA. I have been trying to find out if he is liable for Charges for the treatment he has recieved. I have spoken to the DOH Overseas Helpline but they dont seem to know. When William Hague agreed to train 2000 Lebanese Soldiers was there any agreement that they could recieve NHS treatment free of charge if the need arose during their visit.? Under normal circumstances someone from the Lebanon would have to pay for NHS Treatment
    Best Wishes Chris Lindley 02381203211

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About Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011. Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford…

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011.

Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford College), graduating with a First class degree in Modern History. He has an MA in Modern History, and is a Senior Associate Member of St Anthony’s College for International Studies, Oxford.

He is married to Louise Fletcher and they have two sons, Charles (born 2006) and Theodor (born 2011). Tom enjoys political history, cricket (Strollers CC), and mountains, and is the co-founder of 2020 (a progressive think tank).

Tom was awarded the Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2011 New Year’s Honours, for services to the Prime Minister.

Tom posts on Lebanon and the Middle East on this site. For posts on innovative statecraft, please visit Naked Diplomat-Foreign Policy without the Frills.

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