The finalization of the contract between France and Saudi Arabia to provide Lebanon with $3 billion worth of military assistance is being delayed because it requires the signature of the Lebanese president that so far does not exist according to Saudi sources.
A $3 billion Saudi grant to the Lebanese army was announced under president Michel Suleiman’s tenure last December.
Last month, French diplomats said Saudi red tape had delayed the Lebanese army’s purchase of the French weapons under the $3 billion deal financed by Riyadh.
But Saudi Ambassador Ali Awadh Asiri denied the accusation, saying the $3 billion was awaiting the spending mechanism and hinged on the final deal between Lebanon and France, meaning between the seller and the buyer.
French Foreign Minister spokesman Romain Nadal said Tuesday: “We are putting the final touches on the contract.”
“The delivery of the military equipment needs time,” he added.
Lebanon has been without a president since May 25 when Suleiman’s six-year term ended with MPs unable to find a successor over their differences on a compromise candidate.