Senior U.S. Defense Official Highlights Battle against Terrorism during Visit to Lebanonإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy Matthew Spence discussed with high-ranking Lebanese security the needs of the army and the security operations carried out across Lebanon to confront the repercussions of the war raging in neighboring country Syria.
Spence held talks with Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq and Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji on Thursday at the head of an accompanying delegation.
Talks reportedly focused on the military cooperation between the two countries, the situation in Lebanon, U.S. aid to the country, and the conditions of the Syrian refugees.
Spence discussed during his separate talks with the two officials the possibility of providing Lebanon with advanced arms under a Saudi $1 billion grant.
He also stressed that the U.S. and Lebanon are cooperating in the battle against terrorism.
He highlighted the long-standing security partnership between the United States and Lebanon through ongoing training and assistance programs, a more than $1 billion investment since 2005.
A high-ranking military delegation is scheduled to travel to Moscow on Monday to continue discussions with Russian officials on the delivery of weapons to the Lebanese army, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported.
Washington sought to bolster Lebanon's military by recently announcing it had delivered a new shipment of Hellfire missiles and would also supply light aircraft.
Lebanese Army's Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Walid Suleiman recently headed a delegation to Russia to discuss the purchase of arms and ammunition under the same grant.
The Saudi donation was announced by al-Mustaqbal movement chief ex-PM Saad Hariri in August.
The army and security forces had been carrying out in recent months raids in various regions throughout Lebanon in search for wanted fugitives and suspected terrorists.
Lebanese troops have been battling Syria-based Islamic militants, including the extremist Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, in areas near the border.