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Saudi and France 'finalising' $3bn contract to arm the Lebanese army

France and Saudi Arabia are finalising a $3 billion arms deal to provide the Lebanese army with weapons, the French presidency announced yesterday following talks between French President Francois Hollande and Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz.

Hollande said, during an official dinner hosted in honour of the Saudi Crown Prince, that Lebanon is a “great but vulnerable country” which “needs security”.

He added: “We have come together, Saudi Arabia and France, to help Lebanon on the condition that it also helps itself, for its own security.”

Prince Salman arrived in Paris yesterday for a three-day visit to meet with Hollande who hosted a dinner in his honour. Most of the attendees were representatives of arms companies.

The Lebanese army, which suffers from a shortage of arms in quality and quantity, demanded the international community help it contain the repercussions of the ongoing war in neighbouring Syria, where Islamic State fighters control large areas.

The Lebanese army recently fought violent confrontations with IS elements in the town of Arsal, near its border with Syria.

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