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Hariri: Saudi grant already being spent

BEIRUT |, with agencies - October 15, 2014, 14h20
Former Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, confirms Saudi military grant for Lebanese army, claiming some $300mil has already been spent.
After a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini, in Rome on Tuesday, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri stated that “300 million dollars from the Saudi grant already spent to equip the army and the security forces”, according to a communiqué sent by Hariri’s press office.

During the meeting Hariri thanked Mogherini for her country’s participation in the UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon and asked for her country’s further support in easing the burden caused by Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Responding to questions after the meeting Hariri confirmed the Saudi military grant to Lebanon of which some has already been spent, “regarding the one-billion dollars grant, we have signed credits of about three hundred million dollars to buy aircraft, equipment and weapons for the army and the Internal security forces.”

“As for the three-billion dollars grant, this is an agreement between Saudi Arabia and France and it is on the right path according to Saudi and French officials,” he added.

During their meeting, Hariri and Mogherini also discussed the political vacuum left by the absence of a Lebanese president, a matter which is concerning to the Italians as well although Hariri denied having come up with three names in his meeting with the Maronite patriarch the day before.

“We said from the beginning that we will not get into the issue of names, but this does not mean that we should not look for names.”

“March 14 Forces and Future movement, we should do as in 2007 when we proposed the candidacy of President Michel Suleiman”, he added.

He also criticised Hezbollah for going to war in Syria and said they should admit fault fro bringing the threat of terrorism to Lebanon. “Those who want to go to Syria to protect shrines and prevent the terrorists from coming to our country, should see that in spite of all this, terrorism came to Lebanon.”

“Sunnis are not to be blamed for such misguided groups that are trying to implant themselves. I am intransigent on this issue,” he added.

Hariri also confirmed that he plans to return to Lebanon permanently but has not yet set a date for this.
#SaadHariri, #Italy, #Lebanese_army
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