Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has reportedly pledged to give a $3bn grant to the Lebanese Army to boost its warfighting capabilities, marking the largest aid offered in Lebanon’s history.
Announcing in a televised statement, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman revealed that the funding would enable the Lebanese army to procure military equipment from France, as well allowing the army to ‘confront terrorism’ and suspend the proliferation of weapons.
"The king of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is offering this generous and appreciated aid of $3bn to the Lebanese army to strengthen its capabilities," Suleiman said.
The latest move to bolster the armed forces comes in light of the killing of a senior Lebanese politician Mohamad Chatah in a car bomb explosion in the heart of Beirut.
In addition, reports revealed that Lebanon’s armed forces have been under-equipped and lacking in experience against increasing security challenges.
The latest grant would contribute to counter terrorism and assist the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to execute UNSC Resolution 1701.
Furthermore, the Lebanese Republic is also anticipated to receive $1.6bn during an international meeting in Italy in 2014.
French President Francois Hollande was cited by the BBC as saying France would meet any requests for weapons from Lebanon.
"I am in touch with President Suleiman… If requests are addressed to us, we will meet them," Hollande said.
Saudi Arabia’s move marks a clear effort to defy Iran’s influence in Lebanon.