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Qatar to provide Lebanon army food aid

General Joseph Aoun (R), the Lebanese Army Chief of Staff, arrives to attend a handover ceremony organised by the Lebanese Armed Forces of four A-29 Super Tucano aircraft given by the US at Hamat airbase, north of Beirut on 12 June 2018. [JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images]
General Joseph Aoun (R), the Lebanese Army Chief of Staff, in the north of Beirut on 12 June 2018. [JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images]

Qatar will provide the Lebanese armed forces with 70 tonnes of food a month, the Qatari state news agency QNA reported, as Lebanon seeks assistance amid its worst economic and political crisis since a 1975-1990 civil war, Reuters reported.

Lebanon's army chief Joseph Aoun had appealed to world powers at a meeting in France last month for assistance for soldiers, whose wages have plunged in value as the Lebanese pound has crashed and inflation has soared.

Qatar's donation was announced yesterday during a visit to Beirut by Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. QNA did not give details about the food aid offered.

Sheikh Mohammed urged Lebanese parties to form a new government "to achieve stability", QNA said. Lebanese politicians have spent months wrangling without agreeing on a new government that is needed to unlock international aid.

Lebanon's cabinet resigned after a massive Beirut port blast in August last year and has been acting in a caretaker capacity since then, while the economic crisis in the heavily-indebted Arab country has deepened. The Lebanese pound has lost 90 per cent of its value against the dollar since the crisis erupted in 2019.

Lebanon has long looked to the Gulf for financial aid in the past, but Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia have become increasingly reluctant to help because of the rising influence of Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shis group backed by Iran.

Western and other international donors have demanded a new government and major reforms before providing assistance.

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