Ex-President Suleiman Urges International Community for Further Assistance to Lebanon

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Former President Michel Suleiman called on the international community on Tuesday to support the Lebanese government and army in the fight against terrorism.

“Further facilities should be offered and establish an air bridge to deliver the technology and the equipment necessary for assisting the army,” Suleiman said in a televised speech.

His speech comes in light of the recent developments in Lebanon, urging the army command and the Internal Security Forces to start calling up reservists in order to maintain stability and participate in confronting terrorist.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia had recently pledged to bolster the army.

Suleiman’s tenure ended in May with rival MPs unable to find a successor over their differences on a compromise candidate.

He stressed the importance of abiding by the Baabda Declaration and controlling the northern border with the neighboring country Syria to prevent its use as a conduit for arms and gunmen.

The Baabda Declaration was unanimously adopted during a national dialogue session in June 2012. It calls for Lebanon to disassociate itself from regional crises, most notably the one in Syria.

Arsal, lies 12 kilometers from the border with Syria, has been reportedly used as a conduit for weapons and rebels to enter Syria, while also serving as a refuge for people fleeing the conflict.

Concerning the case of abducted Lebanese soldiers and policemen by Islamist fighters in Arsal, Suleiman urged political parties to support the government’s efforts and fortifying its stances.

The murder of two Lebanese army soldiers by jihadists from Syria has sparked new tensions in Lebanon, including a backlash against Syrian refugees and a string of sectarian kidnappings.

There has been growing resentment by the Lebanese people against the refugees given the recent developments in the country, most notably the abduction of a number of soldiers and policemen by Islamists from the northeastern town of Arsal in August.

The hostage crisis and beheadings have inflamed tensions in Lebanon, which is hosting more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees, and where tensions were already soaring over the four-year conflict in Syria.

Amid the rise in tensions, the authorities have appealed for calm, calling on the Lebanese to refrain from revenge attacks.

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