Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly met with Lebanese Defense Minister Yacoub Sarraf on March 8 at her office. This meeting evoked the regional environment, in particular the conflict in Syria and its consequences on the security and humanitarian situation of Lebanon.
The Minister reaffirmed to Mr. Sarraf France's commitment to the security, integrity and stability of Lebanon.
The meeting focused on the preparation of the conference on support to the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces, which is being held on March 15 in Rome.
Without waiting for the outcome of this event, the Armed Forces Minister confirmed to her Lebanese counterpart an immediate program of training and disposal of military equipment to benefit Lebanon. This effort will enable France, in 2018:
-- to reinforce the anti-tank capabilities of the Lebanese army, in line with previous years' transfers, with the delivery of 100 HOT missiles, a simulator, training equipment and large quantities of spare parts and tools);
-- to train the Lebanese forces to combat Improvised Explosive Devices, and continue increasing its military working dog capabilities;
-- provide equipment to specialist units (snipers, mountain troops and intervention force).
This assistance is in addition to the military cooperation efforts that have considerably increased in recent years between France and Lebanon. Thus, as early as 2016, a reinforced cooperation plan was implemented between the two states. This included the provision of VAB armored vehicles with HOT anti-tank missile capability. Technical and tactical training accompanied these deliveries. At the same time, the increase in the number of operational training detachments deployed in Lebanon has provided Lebanese military units with French expertise in the fight against terrorism.
With this effort, and with the additional contributions it will soon announce, France is working both to strengthen the means to fight the jihadist threat and to support the Lebanese State to fully exercise its sovereignty.
Florence Parly welcomes the intensity of bilateral cooperation and reiterated to her Lebanese counterpart her strong determination to strengthen it further.