The United States plans to increase military aid to Lebanon to $189.1 million from the $90.7 million initially allocated for the 2009 fiscal year, the Beirut-based an-Nahar reported Sunday. "The U.S. administration will ask Congress to allocate an extra $98.4 million in military equipments and training expenses for the Lebanese army, bringing military aid for 2009 to a total of $189.1 million," sources were quoted as saying by the Lebanese daily.
The comments come after Lebanon's Defense Minister Elias Murr ended on Wednesday a three-day trip to Washington.
Murr held talks with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and one of the White House's special regional advisers, Dennis Ross. According to the report, the sources said the need for the additional aid came after "both sides expressed a desire to develop military ties and to increase the number of Lebanese troops being trained in American military academies."
Lebanon is expecting the delivery of a shipment of U.S.-made arms in the coming weeks. The weapons include 41 howitzers, 12 Zodiac boats, 12 Raven air vehicles, one Cessna and 10 M60s.