Lebanon, French Delegation Discuss $3bn Saudi Arms Grant

Naharnet25.02.2014 Lebanon
Lebanon, French Delegation Discuss $3bn Saudi Arms Grant

Lebanon, French Delegation Discuss $3bn Saudi Arms Grant

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The Lebanese Army is engaged in “tough negotiations” with the French military delegation that is tasked with implementing a $3 billion Saudi grant.

The delegation is in Lebanon and is holding a series of meetings with Lebanese military officials at the Defense Ministry in Yarze.

But the negotiations between the Lebanese and French parties are making a very slow progress, al-Akhbar said, amid reports that Paris rejects providing the Army with specific weapons that it has asked for.

It has also proposed selling used equipment, the reports said despite a pledge by French Army Chief-of-Staff Edouard Guillaud during talks with Qahwaji in Saudi Arabia to provide the Lebanese Army with all its needs.

President Michel Sleiman announced in late December that Saudi Arabia had granted the Lebanese Army with $3 billion in military equipment to be purchased from France.

In 2012, the government approved a five-year plan worth $4.4 billion to provide the Army with weapons.

The Cabinet allocated $1.6 billion to this end, and the Saudi grant will secure the remaining funds needed to implement the plan.

According to the plan, the Army will build facilities to the south of the Litani River and erect posts on borders worth $200 million.

Additionally, $50 million will be allocated to rehabilitate Naval Bases. The Army will also improve its Air Force, purchase ammunition and radar equipment worth $300 million. Also, $200 million will be spent to develop Lebanon’s naval force, $80 million to improve anti-armor weapons, $600 million to bolster artillery capabilities and $80 million for armored units.

It’s been decades since the Army has received advanced weaponry. The Saudi grant comes as the military establishment faces mounting security challenges resulting from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Source: Naharnet; The Daily Star; Al-Akhbar

 
 

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