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France to provide military equipment to Lebanese army soon

BEIRUT |, with agencies - October 09, 2014, 20h03
French President François Hollande and Saudi Prince Salman in Paris in September. Photo:
France will start providing military equipment including weapons to the Lebanese army as part of a $3B Saudi military deal, France has confirmed.
The Daily Star reported Thursday that France will soon start providing military equipment to Lebanon to hep fight Jihadists encroaching on the Lebanese border, according to a statement made by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday.

“All the work is done and the President [Francois Hollande] indicated yesterday to Mr. [Saad] Hariri that the conditions to fulfill the contract had been met,” Le Drian told France’s parliament.
“This is a necessity. The Lebanese Army is the last barrier that exists against the security threats this country faces.”

The deal has been in preparation for almost a year. Last December, François Hollande and King Abdullah announced from Riyadh that Saudi would finance the purchase of French weapons for the Lebanese army, to the amount of three billion dollars. Since then, the Lebanese army had chosen the equipment but the deal had been hampered by many administrative formalities.

Now the deal is back on track, with an extra $1B from Saudi promised by Saad Hariri.Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who has close ties with Saudi, was in France this week meeting French President Hollande and may have played a role in speeding up the deal.

The statement comes as the Lebanese Army faces increasing threats from the Syrian al-Nusra front, linked with Al-Qaeda, who are terrorising Lebanon’s border, kidnapping around 20 Lebanese army soldiers in August.
#Saudi_Arabia, #France, #Lebanese_army, #Weapons
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