AOUN MEETS U.S. GENERAL VOTEL, SAYS DETERMINED TO COMBAT TERRORISM

President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, on Tuesday maintained that Lebanon was determined to combat terrorist organizations and uncover all terror rings.

"The army is still carrying on air and land strikes against these organizations' hotbeds, and it is causing major losses among the terrorists," Aoun said during his meeting with U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Joseph Votel, at Baabda palace.

The meeting was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, Elizabeth Richard.

"The preemptive military operations carried out by the army and targeting terrorists' locations are being executed with high accuracy and competence," Aoun stressed.

"The pursuit of sleeping terror rings resulted into the arrest of a terrorist group that was planning attacks on populated areas," he revealed.

Aoun also thanked General Votel for the support provided to the Lebanese military by the U.S.

"Lebanon will return to what it used to be, an oasis for peace and stability," he underlined.

For his part, General Votel conveyed to President Aoun the U.S. command's keenness on providing support for the Lebanese military.

"The meetings I held during my stay in Beirut focused on providing this support, especially that the [Lebanese] army has proven high capacity and special competence in its operations against the terrorists," General Votel said.

He also said that his country highly appreciated the attention President Aoun was paying to the army, particularly his personal presence at the central operations' room in Yarze to follow up on the mission executed by the military.

He confirmed that the U.S. would continue providing necessary aid for the Lebanese army "because it realizes the importance of this support in preserving Lebanon's stability and safety."

Both Aoun and Votel dwelt on the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region, in light of the latest ground developments, especially in Syria and Iraq.

Source: National News Agency