Lebanon has officially requested Egypt to provide training to the Lebanese military, Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri told Egyptian state-owned news agency MENA in an interview published on Thursday.
In the interview, conducted on Wednesday as part of his official visit to Cairo, Hariri said he had presented the request during a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, with El-Sisi expressing his readiness for such a task and issuing orders accordingly.
The Lebanese leader did not reveal the type of training being sought. However, he said that Lebanon routinely sends officers to Egypt to receive training, something he said helped Lebanon in fighting terrorism.
“We aim to get such help,” Hariri said.
He said that his main goal in requesting training assistance from Egypt is to bolster the capabilities of the Lebanese army and provide it with the necessary military power.
“It’s time for Lebanon to decide on its own fate. As the army becomes better armed and trained, there will be more interaction with the people, because the army holds together all Lebanese sects and doctrines,” he said, stressing that his country needs the support of Egypt, among other “brothers”.
El-Sisi received the Lebanese leader in Cairo on Wednesday, congratulating him on “the role played in reaching consensus between the different factions of Lebanese society.”
Hariri’s visit is the first to Egypt since he took office in December 2016, and comes one month after a visit by Lebanese President Michel Aoun to Cairo.
The two leaders discussed possible cooperation in various fields, including health, education and investment, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidential office.
Hariri said that El-Sisi expressed his support for the “Lebanese harmony” that has emerged in the political sphere, leading to the election of Lebanese President Michel Aoun in October 2016. Prior to Aoun’s election, the office of president had been vacant for more than two years, leaving a power vacuum in the country.
“What happened in Lebanon is that we decided to look at ourselves before we look outside, and that’s why such consent took place,” Hariri said, referring to the election of Aoun and the formation of a cabinet lead by Hariri.
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