Army Chief of Staff in Moscow Next Week over Military Assistance

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The Lebanese Army’s chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Walid Suleiman is scheduled to travel to Moscow next week to discuss with Russian officials military assistance to Lebanon.

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, who recently visited Russia, said Suleiman will follow up the meetings that he held with the Russian officials.

Suleiman is scheduled to travel there next Monday to discuss a decision to supply the army with Russian equipment.

“The officials in Moscow were keen on the stability of Lebanon and the importance of preventing its exposure to dangers similar to Syria and Iraq,” said al-Mashnouq.

They also stressed the importance of electing a consensual and moderate president, he added.

Al-Mashnouq was in Moscow to discuss the purchase of military equipment for the Internal Security Forces from a recently announced $1 billion Saudi grant to Lebanon.

The grant was announced by al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri last month.

Saudi Arabia is already financing a $3-billion package of French military equipment and arms for the army although bureaucracy has slowed down the procedure.

Gen. Suleiman is most likely to discuss the Russian assistance as part of a grant that was announced in November 2010. The grant was recently activated in light of the announcement of Saudi assistance to help Lebanon to confront the jihadist threat.

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