Lebanese President Michael Suleiman revealed on Sunday that Saudi Arabia have decided to pay $3billion in support to the Lebanese army to buy weapons from France. “It is the largest fund in history to be paid to Lebanon and its army,” the president said.
In a televised speech from the Republic Palace in Beirut, Suleiman said: “I am pleased to tell the Lebanese people that the Saudi King is to pay $3 billion to reinforce the Lebanese army. France contributed to taking this decision.”
He added: “This is the largest fund in history paid to Lebanon and its army. It is enough to enable the army to carry out its missions.”
Suleiman reported what the Saudi King had said that the weapons were to be purchased from France. He said: “That will take place very soon based on the historical relationship between Lebanon and France and based on the deep military relationship between both countries.”
During the French-Saudi summit which took place in Riyadh on Sunday, French President Francois Hollande said that his country is ready to supply Lebanon with weapons if the latter demanded it.
The Lebanese army is suffering a severe shortage of modern weapons and depends on aid from different countries, mainly the US.
On the issue of the government, Suleiman called for the formation of a new government soon. “My goal has been to keep Lebanon interested. This is what I have sought during my visit and contacts,” he said.
He denied discussing the extension of his presidency with the Saudi King or the US president for a new term. “They even did not mention the issue with me,” he added.
Suleiman called for the Lebanese to be reasonable and to support the state institutions and the army. He warned of the threats of the sectarian conflict.
The Lebanese army has faced difficult security challenges because of instability on the Syrian-Lebanese borders and the latest explosions which targeted prominent politicians in the country.