France wants to act as mediator, restore ties between Lebanon, Saudi Arabia

Published February 24th, 2016 - 02:00 GMT
French Ambassador to Lebanon Emmanuel Bonne. (Twitter)
French Ambassador to Lebanon Emmanuel Bonne. (Twitter)

France wants to safeguard Lebanon and maintain its stability despite the latest strain in ties with Saudi Arabia, Defense Minister Samir Moqbel said Wednesday.

"France is seeking to follow up with Saudi Arabia on its latest measures [against Lebanon] to restore ties," Moqbel said in a statement released after meeting French Ambassador to Lebanon Emmanuel Bonne.

He pointed out that the ambassador had reiterated pledges "to carry out the necessary contacts" in order to continue implementing a program set to equip the Lebanese Army.

Riyadh announced a decision last week to suspend $4 billion worth of military aid for Lebanon's army and police, after what it said were stances taken by Lebanese officials which “were not in harmony with the relations between the two countries.”

The aid included a $3 billion grant announced in December 2013 to purchase French weapons and training for the Lebanese Army.

Lebanon received the first batch of the weapons last April. It's a five year program.

Bonne met Tuesday  with Prime Minister Tammam Salam for the same purpose.

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