France says to 'quickly meet Lebanon's needs' on arms

AFP , Tuesday 5 Aug 2014

Lebanese army soldiers sit atop of an armoured carrier at the entrance of the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley August 5, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

France said Tuesday it would move quickly to answer a call from Lebanon for faster arms deliveries as it battles Islamist militants on the Syrian border.

"France is fully committed to supporting the Lebanese army, a pillar of stability and unity in Lebanon," deputy foreign ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani said.

"We are in close contact with our partners to quickly meet Lebanon's needs," he said.

Lebanon's army chief General Jean Kahwaji urged France on Tuesday to speed up the delivery of weapons under a Saudi-financed deal.

Saudi Arabia in December agreed to finance a $3-billion deal to purchase military equipment and weapons from France for Lebanon's army, which has long complained of being badly under-equipped.

Kahwaji's request came as the Lebanese army battles jihadists in the Arsal region of eastern Lebanon on the border with Syria.

The fighting erupted on Saturday after soldiers arrested a man accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, the Al-Nusra Front.

Short link: