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France, Saudi Arabia seal deal to arm Lebanon Open in fullscreen

France, Saudi Arabia seal deal to arm Lebanon

Lebanon has been facing increasing security challenges [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 November, 2014

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The Lebanese army is set to receive $3 billion worth of military equipment financed by Saudi Arabia.
Lebanon's army is to be provided with $3 billion-worth of French weapons, financed by Saudi Arabia, it has emerged, as a long-standing deal comes to fruition.

The deal, first announced last year, comes as the poorly equipped Lebanese army battles armed Islamist groups in the north of the country and along its border with Syria.

"This battle requires equipment, materiel and technology that the army doesn't have," said Lebanon’s army chief, Jean Kahwaji, in August, urging France to speed up the promised weapons supplies.

A signing ceremony for the deal will be held on Tuesday morning in Riyadh, a French source said on condition of anonymity.
     This battle requires equipment, materiel and technology that the army doesn't have.
- Jean Kahwaji, army chief


The first arms shipment is due to be delivered to Lebanon “within a month”, according to the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper. 

The $3 billion deal is financed by Saudi Arabia and gained the backing of International community, who pledged support for the Lebanese army at a conference in Rome in mid-June.

Gerban Bassil, Lebanon's foreign minister, urged the international community to present a "united front" against the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS), saying his country was "impatiently" waiting for the French-made weapons. 

Saudi Arabia had also reportedly given Lebanon's military $1 billion in August this year.
The move was deemed necessary to bolster Lebanon's security.  

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