France delivers first shipment of $3B worth weapons to Lebanon

Lebanon receives first shipment of $3 billion worth French arms

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Lebanon received the first batch of $3 billion worth French arms Monday with a ceremony in Beirut airport with the attendance of Lebanese and French defence ministers.

The weapons are paid for by the Saudi Arabia as part of a four-year plan to arm and train Lebanese forces against threats coming from Syrian border.

The Lebanese military is struggling to contain infiltration of militants through its Syrian border, as the civil war in Syria is increasingly threatening Lebanon’s security.

The Lebanese army sources said Monday's shipment included modern anti-tank guided Milan missiles, which they say expect to increase army’s performance.

The whole deal includes dozens of armoured vehicles, six transport helicopters and other types of weapons, as next party of weapons is scheduled to be delivered in May.

The French army will also train Lebanese soldiers in the scope of the deal.

Lebanese army has been clashing with militants from ISIS and the Nusra Front, Syrian branch of al Qaeda in the Syrian border.

Last August, militants from both groups attacked Lebanese town of Arsal on the Syrian border and took more than 20 soldiers and police officers hostage.

Four of the captives have been killed by the groups and that negotiations for the remaining security officers still continue.

“The Lebanese army paid a high price in Arsal and France helped and will help Lebanon so that it does not slip into chaos,” said French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during the delivery ceremony.

TRTWorld and agencies