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International powers vow to help Lebanese crisis-stricken army | Middle East News




Warning of the critical situation, the Lebanese army chief tells the French-led virtual meeting that the economic crisis will lead to the collapse of all state institutions.

A number of countries have pledged to provide the Lebanese army with emergency assistance to prevent it from collapsing in the face of the deepest political and economic crisis affecting the nation, although they did not provide details on the aid provided.

Lebanese Army Chief Joseph Aoun said Thursday at the virtual meeting of world powers, hosted by France, that the nation faced dire consequences if countries’ crises continued and military salaries continued to fall.

How can a soldier support a family with a salary that does not exceed $ 90? he said in a video, posted on the guns Twitter account.

The situation is critical. If left unchecked, the economic and financial crisis will inevitably lead to the collapse of all state institutions including the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), he said.

Aoun said the military was the sole guarantor of security and stability in Lebanon and the most trusted institution domestically and globally.

Therefore, maintaining cohesion and supporting the LAF to accomplish its mission is crucial.

France, which has described the Lebanese military as essential to the country’s stability, hosted the meeting with partners including the United States, Russia and China, as well as with European powers and some Gulf Arab states, though not Saudi Arabia.

International efforts

Participating countries were asked to provide food, medical equipment, spare parts for military equipment and even fuel, although they were not required to pay salaries directly. The shopping list compiled by the military adds millions of dollars.

Two diplomats told the Reuters news agency that not much was offered during the meeting, although most countries showed willingness to offer bilateral support in the future. They said a follow-up mechanism would monitor and coordinate any aid that would go directly to the military and not through government channels.

Paris has sought to increase pressure on Lebanese politicians’ quarrels but so far has failed to push them to form a new government that is vital to unlock foreign aid.

Dissatisfaction has erupted in the security forces as the Lebanese currency has lost 90 percent of its value against the US dollar, cutting soldiers’ salaries. Many have taken on extra work, while some have been laid off.

Even if many countries have already provided significant bilateral assistance, the gravity of the Lebanese crisis requires increased engagement and coordination from all, the French defense ministry said in a statement.

The LAF remains an essential pillar of the Lebanese state and plays a key role in maintaining security throughout the country, the statement added.

Their cohesion and professionalism remain essential to maintaining stability.

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