The first delivery of the Saudi-funded French weapons to Lebanon will begin in April, a spokesman for France’s Foreign Minister said Sunday, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
In December 2011, Saudi Arabia pledged $3 billion to fund the purchase of French weapons – including helicopter gunships, armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery and surveillance drones.
The military aid, which will allow the Lebanese Army to modernize, will be supplied over the next three years.
Meanwhile, a shipment of U.S. weapons pledged to the Lebanese Army arrived Sunday to Beirut’s port, in a move that marks a renewed American commitment to helping Lebanon battle jihadis along its borders.
A statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut said that U.S. Ambassador David Hale presided over the delivery of $25 million in assistance to the Lebanese Army.
The shipment included over 70 M198 Howitzers as well as 26 million rounds of ammunition including small, medium and heavy artillery rounds.
Last month, the U.S. delivered dozens of brand new armored Humvees to help protect Lebanese soldiers.
While the U.S. has donated more than a billion dollars in aid to the Lebanese Army over the last decade, most previous donations have been non-lethal equipment, including armored personnel carriers, light aircraft and communication systems.
Source: AFP; Agencies
File Photo: French President François Hollande and Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam (Credit: Présidence de la République)