Lebanese army to get $3 bn Saudi aid

Beirut, Dec 30: Saudi King Abdullah has decided to grant the Lebanese army an aid of $3 billion to enable it purchase French weaponry, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Sunday.

Suleiman, during a televised address, declared that he managed to secure this “extraordinary support” for the army through his talks with Saudi King Abdullah, Xinhua reported.

He said “the king noted that the weapons will be purchased from France as soon as possible” while hoping that the French government “will back this initiative and support the army”.

The Lebanese president described the move as “the biggest support in Lebanon’s history”, pointing out that it is “sufficient to enable the army to perform its missions”.

He stressed “this support will contribute to confronting terrorism and helping United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) implement UNSC Resolution 1701″.

Suleiman revealed that another $1.6 billion might be offered during an international meeting in Italy in 2014.

The International Support Group for Lebanon was launched in September on the sidelines of the UN General assembly and aims at supporting the Lebanese institutions and particularly its armed forces.