Saudi Arabia to offer $3 billion for the Lebanese army to buy weapons from France 3012131

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Defence & Security News - Saudi Arabia / Lebanon

 
 
Monday, December 30, 2013 09:55 AM
 
Saudi Arabia to offer $3 billion for the Lebanese army to buy weapons from France.
Saudi Arabia has pledged $3 billion for the Lebanese army, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman announced, calling it the largest grant ever given to the country's armed forces. "The king of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is offering this generous and appreciated aid of $3 billion to the Lebanese army to strengthen its capabilities," Suleiman said in a televised address on Sunday, December 29, 2013.
     
Saudi Arabia has pledged $3bn for the Lebanese army, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman announced, calling it the largest grant ever given to the country's armed forces. "The king of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is offering this generous and appreciated aid of $3bn to the Lebanese army to strengthen its capabilities," Suleiman said in a televised address on Sunday, December 29, 2013.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, right, speaks with French President Francois Hollande during their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, December 29, 2013.
     

Lebanon would use the Saudi grant to buy "newer and more modern weapons," from France, said Mr. Sleiman, an independent who has become increasingly critical of Hezbollah.

The Saudi move was announced hours after thousands of Lebanese turned out for the funerals of former cabinet minister Mohamad Chatah and some of the other victims killed Friday in a bombing in downtown Beirut. The bomb was believed to have targeted Mr. Chatah, an outspoken critic of Hezbollah's dominance of Lebanese affairs and security. No group has claimed responsibility.

Lebanon's President Gen. Michel Sleiman said the money will allow the army to buy weapons from France, and he expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia, according to the statement.

French President Francois Hollande, currently on a visit to Saudi Arabia where he met King Abdullah, said France would supply weapons to the Lebanese army if it was asked to do so.

The Lebanese army is generally seen as a unifying force in the country, and draws its ranks from all of Lebanon’s sects. But it has struggled to contain the escalating violence in the country since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict.

 

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