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NOW

Suleiman: Army desperately
needs modern weaponry

BEIRUT - President Michel Suleiman said he hopes a conference held in Rome on Thursday to prepare for the International Support Group for Lebanon’s June conference in the city will be successful, and highlighted a number of reasons the Lebanese Armed Forces need support.

 

“[I hope] the conference held in Rome today will be successful on the technical level in preparing well for the conference the International Support Group for Lebanon will hold this June,” Suleiman told visiting parliamentarians on Thursday.

 

“[There] is a pressing need to help prepare the army and provide it with modern weaponry, in view of the enormous missions it embarks upon.”

 

“[The army needs this support for] the security plans it implements to preserve security and stability in the interior, as well as its missions on the borders to defend the homeland.”

 

He also noted that the conference in June will work to implement conclusions reached in the support group’s previous conference in New York in September 2013.

 

The group was set up last year to help Lebanon deal with the implications of the brutal war in Syria that began in March 2011.

 

It is intended to provide financial, political and security support to the small nation.

 

Lebanon is hosting more than 1 million registered Syrian refugees, straining the limited resources of the nation of just four million residents.

 

The conflict has also inflamed sectarian tensions, with the powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement sending fighters to bolster Syria's regime against a Sunni-led uprising many Sunni Lebanese support.

 

A string of car and suicide bomb attacks have targeted Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon in recent months, killing dozens of civilians.

[There] is a pressing need to help prepare the army and provide it with modern weaponry, in view of the enormous missions it embarks upon.