Aoun Receives Qatari Invitation, Promises Defense Strategy Talks after Polls

President Michel Aoun on Monday received an invitation to visit Qatar from the Gulf emirate's ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Lebanon's National News Agency said the invitation letter was delivered by Qatari Ambassador to Lebanon Ali bin Hamad al-Meri.

The ambassador said the invitation is for the opening ceremony of Qatar's national library that will be held on April 16.

Separately, Aoun hoped the Rome II conference will “achieve the sought results in terms of offering support to the Lebanese army and security forces to enable them to continue to perform their duties in preserving security and stability and extending state authority across Lebanon.”

The conference will be held Wednesday in the Italian capital.

“The participation of brotherly and friendly countries and international bodies in this conference highlights anew confidence in Lebanon and the desire to help it confront the expected challenges,” the president added.

“The resolutions and recommendations that will be issued by the Rome conference will boost the capabilities of all security institutions, especially the army,” Aoun went on to say, noting that Lebanon is seeking effective weapons for the military institution to “enable it to perform its role as part of a national defense strategy.”

The president also revealed that “Lebanese leaders will discuss the national defense strategy after the parliamentary elections that will be held in May.”

The defense strategy has long been a thorny issue in Lebanon.

Aoun voiced his remarks during separate talks with Acting U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel and Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Massimo Marotti.

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