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Lebanon General to Russia to Diversify Army Weapon Sources

Army chief General Jean Qahwaji is scheduled to travel to Russia soon to discuss ways that Moscow can provide the Lebanese army with military aid, news reports said on Wednesday.
Qahwaji aims to diversify the sources of military weapons provided to Lebanon within the $500 million quota allocated to the army and as part of the one billion Saudi grant in that regard, As Safir daily reported. Former Premier and head of al-Mustaqbal Movement MP Saad Hariri announced on August 6 that Saudi Arabia will grant Lebanon one billion dollars to the military institution to “combat terrorism.” Media information said that $500 million of the grant will be given in cash to the Lebanese army to get the weapons and ammunition needed. Qahwaji had reiterated to his visitors that Hariri told him to “find the best suitable contract for the military institution, and we will be right behind you,” according to As Safir Wednesday. It also revealed that the army chief will visit Russia soon after he held several contacts with the Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin in Beirut to sign the arms deal with the leadership of the Russian army. Qahwaji is expected to visit several western and eastern capitals to purchase the weapons, added the daily, pointing that the U.S. has put its weapons warehouses in Cyprus under the disposal of the Lebanese army since the latest incidents that flared in the northeastern border town of Arsal. Hariri, who made a surprise visit to Lebanon at the beginning of August after three years abroad, had left back to Jeddah a few days afterwards to “hold discussions with Saudi leaders on the aid granted to the Lebanese army.” In December 2013 Saudi Arabia had granted three billion dollars for the purchase of arms from France for the benefit of the Lebanese army.


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