Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Iran, welcome to equip Lebanese army'

From PressTV:
A top Lebanese official says his country would welcome any Iranian effort to provide the Lebanese army with long-needed military equipment.

"The US has taken no serious action to provide the Lebanese army with its needed equipment; therefore, if Iranians want to do so, we welcome them," said Lebanese Minister of State Jean Oghassabian in an interview with the al-Jadid Arabic-language satellite channel, according to IRNA.

Lebanon's 70,000-strong army is under-armed and overstretched with army officials complaining over the lack of heavy armor, anti-aircraft missiles and the absence of a strong air force.

The United States and Lebanon have set up a joint commission in Beirut to establish military relations; there have been reports of the United States entering military contracts to equip Lebanese forces in line with a pledge to grant aid to the country.

Lebanese officials, however, have commented on the issue, saying that Washington-Beirut cooperation has not provided Lebanon with the military equipment it needs.

According to the officials, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman had communicated a request to the US administration for hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and military equipment, including helicopters, armored personnel carriers and communications systems, for Beirut to establish border and internal security.

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