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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 687-13
September 26, 2013

Readout of Secretary Hagel's Meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the President of Lebanon in New York, N.Y.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little provided the following readout:

On Sept. 26, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel traveled to New York to participate in the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Strategic Cooperation Forum (SCF) and to meet with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

Secretary Hagel joined Secretary 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, 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. The secretary 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. Secretary Hagel urged further collaboration in these defense initiatives. The SCF concluded with Secretary Kerry moderating a discussion on regional issues, including Syria, Iran, and Yemen.

Secretary 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.