U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that his country will continue to work closely with partners in the Middle East, including Lebanon, to prevent the ongoing Gaza conflict from expanding.
Biden made the pledge in a letter sent to Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on the occasion of Lebanon’s 80th Independence Day, which falls on Nov. 22.
The U.S. president also said, “I look forward to working with you in the coming year to shape a safer, more prosperous, and more integrated future for the peoples of the region.”
He added that the long-term U.S.-Lebanon relations are “of great importance” in building a better future for the two peoples and the peoples around the world.
In the letter, Biden also extended his best wishes for the anniversary on behalf of the American people.
Lebanon’s Independence Day this year comes amid its increasing tensions on the southern border with Israel for over six weeks after Lebanese armed group Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets toward Israeli sites on Oct. 8 in support of the Hamas attack on Israel the previous day. Hezbollah’s onslaught then prompted the Israeli forces to respond by firing heavy artillery toward several areas in southeastern Lebanon.