Lebanon’s Daily Star reported that Prime Minister Saad Hariri said after talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that Russia would grant the Lebanese Army helicopter gunships, tanks, and munitions.
Hariri announced that Moscow would provide Lebanon with six MI 24 helicopters, 31 T-72 tanks, 36 cannons of 130 mm caliber, around half a million different munitions for medium-sized weapons, and 30,000 artillery shells for free.
Hariri, who headed a delegation of ministers, highlighted the importance of security and military ties between Russia and Lebanon.
“We also see that military and security relations are very important, as well as military exchanges and training. We thank you for all the support you have granted Lebanon in this area,” said Hariri, addressing Putin.
The prime minister also praised Russia’s role regarding the Middle East conflict, reiterating Arab demands. “We believe that Russia’s role is major, and your historical positions in support of the Palestinian cause and the Arabs, as well as your support to the international resolutions related to these issues, were fair. Russia has always been the party that sees the problem from two sides,” he said.
“We hope that your role in this process will become stronger, because the region needs Russia’s role … We must put an end to Israeli continuous intransigence, because the region does not tolerate all this extremism that exists in it,” the Premier said.
Hariri also urged Russia to increase its investment in Lebanon. “Trade exchange must be better than it is today because of the special political relations. Therefore we welcome all Russian companies to participate in the tenders in the areas of transportation, construction of dams, railways, and others.” he said.
Meanwhile, Putin said he saw “good potential” for improving bilateral trade links and spoke of the desire of Russian companies for more business in Lebanon. “Two agreements are scheduled to be signed, the first is a cooperation agreement between the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office and the Lebanese Justice Ministry, and the other an agreement in the field of culture,” he said. (Daily Star).