Lebanese forces train in U.S.

Jan. 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Lebanese security forces started training Monday in the United States to learn more about community policing practices, the U.S. State Department said.

Seven members of Lebanon's internal security forces started a training program with the police department in Richmond, Va.

"The participants will learn ... successful community policing principles for carrying out law enforcement and public safety responsibilities -- practices that participants will apply in their own communities in Lebanon," a State Department statement read.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati told al-Arabiya last week he was working to isolate his country from the Syrian war.

Mikati is from the March 8 movement, a political alliance that's been in favor of the Syrian government. Syrian influence dominated Lebanese political affairs before the Cedar Revolution in 2005 forced Damascus to pull back. Since war broke out in Syria in early 2011, Lebanon's northern border regions have witnessed fighting between pro- and anti-Syrian groups.

Mikati said it's been two years since he spoke with Syrian President Bashar Assad. It wasn't in Beirut's interest, he said, to interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring countries.

The Lebanese training program ends Friday.

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