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France offers 400 million euro credit for Lebanese army

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is seeking funds for Lebanon's security services in Rome [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 March, 2018

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Lebanon received increased military support from the international community Thursday with France opening a 400 million euro ($492 million) line of credit to the country's army.

Lebanon received increased military support from the international community on Thursday with France opening a 400 million euro ($492 million) line of credit to the country's army.

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri thanked Paris at an international conference held in Rome to drum up money to bolster the armed forces of the country, long a proxy battleground for its bigger neighbours.

"This conference is important because we in Lebanon were the first to oust ISIS out of our soil -- we were able to do it with very little capabilities," Hariri said, referring to the Islamic State jihadist group.

He also condemned whathe said was interference by Israel.

"Israel remains the primary threat to Lebanon, its daily violations to our sovereignty must stop," he said.

Hariri said Lebanon plans to increase its military presence along its southern border with Israel.

“We will be sending more...troops to the south, and we stress our intention to deploy another regiment,” he said.

“While we are thinking of ways to move from a state of cessation of hostilities to a state of permanent ceasefire, Israel continues to make plans to build walls on reservation areas along the blue line,” Hariri added.

In a joint statement, the conference participants said Lebanon should “accelerate effective and durable deployments to the South”.

Hariri said further discussion would be had to clarify the amounts pledged by each of the 40 countries at the Rome II Conference, which will be followed by two further meetings in Paris and Brussels.

France announced earlier in the month that it would provide 14 million euros to Lebanon's army, mostly in the form of anti-tank equipment.

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