AFP – Twenty nations agreed on Thursday to provide emergency aid to the ailing Lebanese military, a French ministry said on Thursday, noting the army is “essential for the country’s stability”.
The army is not looking for weapons but is unable to pay its troops enough to live on.
Milk, flour, medicine, fuel and spare parts were among the items on a shopping list drawn up by the military that adds up to millions of dollars. France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly hosted a virtual meeting on Thursday of an international support group for Lebanon which includes the United States, several European Union member states, Gulf countries, Russia and China.
“Even if numerous countries have already provided significant bilateral aid, the gravity of the Lebanese crisis calls for increased commitment and coordination from everyone”, to help the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the French ministry said in a statement, adding that “The LAF remain an essential pillar of the Lebanese state” and “play a key role in maintaining security throughout the country”.
“Their cohesion and their professionalism remain essential to preserve stability.” The statement added that the assistance, which was not detailed, “cannot replace indispensable reforms that Lebanon today imperatively needs for its stability”.
Lebanon is in desperate need of financial aid but the international community has conditioned any such help on the formation of a new government to launch sweeping reforms.