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Lebanon's army chief General Jean Kahwaji (2nd L) and Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel (3rd R) welcome French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian upon his arrival at Beirut airport airbase, during a ceremony to give weapons to the Lebanese army April 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir Lebanon's army chief General Jean Kahwaji (2nd L) and Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel (3rd R) welcome French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian upon his arrival at Beirut airport airbase, during a ceremony to give weapons to the Lebanese... REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR
Lebanon’s army chief General Jean Kahwaji (2nd L) and Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel (3rd R) welcome French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian upon his arrival at Beirut airport airbase, during a ceremony to give weapons to the Lebanese army April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Lebanon’s army chief General Jean Kahwaji (2nd L) and Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel (3rd R) welcome French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian upon his arrival at Beirut airport airbase, during a ceremony to give weapons to the Lebanese…
REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR

The first shipment of French weapons and military equipment arrived in Lebanon on Monday under a Saudi-funded deal worth $3 billion to bolster the Lebanese army’s fight against militants encroaching from neighboring Syria.

Lebanese news channels showed a military plane at Beirut International airport with green boxes of weapons and missiles laid out in front. Saudi and French flags waved and the French and Lebanese ministers of defense attended the ceremony.

Lebanon, whose sectarian divisions have been exacerbated by the war over the border inSyria, has said it needs more resources and better hardware.

The deal will involve about 20 French companies and cover a mix of land, sea and air equipment, including armored vehicles, heavy artillery, anti-tank missiles, mortars and assault weapons, a French defense ministry source has said.

A security source from Lebanon, which is still rebuilding after its own 15-year civil war, said the first shipment was 48 “Milan” anti-tank missiles.

Saudi Arabia sees itself as the defender of Sunni Islam in the region and wants to help beef up Lebanese security forces in the face of threats from both Sunni jihadis and Lebanon’s powerful Shi’ite movement Hezbollah.

The Lebanese army received the first batch of the $3  billion  Saudi funded French arms
The Lebanese army received the first batch of the $3 billion Saudi funded French arms

The deal was signed in November in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has already provided $1 billion in military aid to the Lebanese army.

Reuters

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