Saudi Arabia has given to Lebanon's military $1bn to help its fight against jihadist fighters

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Defence & Security News - Lebanon

 
 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 09:42 AM
 
Saudi Arabia has given to Lebanese Armed Forces $1bn to help its fight against jihadist fighters
According to Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia has given to Lebanon's military $1bn to help its fight against self-declared jihadist fighters on the Syrian border. The Saudi gift came as Lebanon army's chief urged France to speed up promised weapons supplies and amid reports that a group of Muslim religious leaders were trying to mediate an end to the fighting.
     
According to Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia has given to Lebanon's military $1bn to help its fight against self-declared jihadist fighters on the Syrian border. The Saudi gift came as Lebanon army's chief urged France to speed up promised weapons supplies and amid reports that a group of Muslim religious leaders were trying to mediate an end to the fighting.
Lebanese troops patrolling in the Beqaa Valley
     

While France has said it will respond "quickly" to Lebanon's request to expedite weapons delivery, Saudi Arabia has gone further and handed Lebanon's army $1bn to strengthen security, according to Saad Hariri, former Lebanese prime minister. Saudi King Abdullah "has informed me of his generous decision to provide the Lebanese army ... with $1bn to strengthen its capabilities to preserve Lebanon's security," Hariri announced in Jeddah early on Wednesday. Speaking from King Abdullah's palace in the Saudi Red Sea city, Hariri - the Lebanese Sunni community's most prominent political representative - added that "we have received this aid".

"This aid is very important especially at this time when Lebanon is fighting terrorism," he said. Saudi Arabia is already financing a $3bn package of French military equipment and arms for Lebanon's army. The fighting in Arsal is the worst violence to hit the volatile border region since the 2011 outbreak of the armed uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking to AFP, Lebanon's army chief General Jean Kahwaji said the military was hamstrung in its fight against the fighters. "This battle requires equipment, materiel and technology that the army doesn't have," Kahwaji said. "That's why we need to speed up the delivery of the necessary military aid by finalising the list of weapons requested from France under a Saudi-financed deal."

In December, Saudi Arabia agreed to finance the $3bn package of French military equipment and arms for Lebanon's army. And in mid-June, at a conference in Rome, the international community pledged its backing for the Lebanese military. Details of what arms will be furnished have yet to be finalised.France insisted on Tuesday that it stood behind the Lebanese army. "France is fully committed to supporting the Lebanese army, a pillar of stability and unity in Lebanon," Vincent Floreani, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said."We are in close contact with our partners to quickly meet Lebanon's needs."

 

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