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Lebanon Needs International Military Aid to Combat IS: Lebanese PM

© Photo : WikipediaPrime Minister of Lebanon, Tammam Salam
Prime Minister of Lebanon, Tammam Salam - Sputnik International
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam has stated that Lebanon needs more international help to contain terror threats from Islamic State in an interview with Agence France-Presse. Mr. Salam said he was looking forward to French arm deliveries, stressing that the state needed more weaponry.

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MOSCOW, December 8 (Sputnik) — Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam has stated that Lebanon needs more international assistance to contain the terror threat from Islamic State forces.

"Tammam Salam, speaking ahead of a visit to France this week, welcomed French arms deliveries due "in the coming weeks", but said his country's military needed more," Agence France Presse reported.

According to Mr. Salam, Lebanon's army has a "respectable defense capacity" with around 70,000 military personnel and 10,000 being currently recruited. However, the country needs "a lot more aid for it," the Prime Minister admitted.

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In December 2013, Saudi Arabia announced it would provide Lebanon with $3 billion of financial assistance for purchasing French weapons. It has taken about a year to implement the deal. The first weapon deliveries are expected within the next few weeks.

"Things are moving – I'm very confident. All the deals have been signed… We're in agreement on 90 percent of the types of weapons. The delivery should begin in the coming weeks," Tammam Salam told Agence France Presse.

Mr. Salam stated that the supplies would include "helicopters and the weapons necessary to help the army properly defend against incursions and attack from abroad, particularly those by terrorists".

The Lebanese Prime Minister rejected the possibility that Islamic State would establish "an Islamic caliphate in Lebanon," stressing that the danger is that IS or Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra "will try to weaken Lebanon."

The longstanding military conflict in Syria poses a substantial threat to Lebanon, due to the growing instability in the Middle Eastern region. The UK has already stepped in to boost Lebanon's defense, establishing observation posts on the Lebanese-Syrian border, the Prime Minister said. Additional posts were erected in the east of Lebanon several weeks ago, where the country's forces have fought radical Islamists coming from Syria.

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