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Lebanese Army calls for Arab and foreign aid as economic crisis deepens

The threat to the military “leaves the entire country at risk,” defense ministers warned at the summit.

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On Thursday, General Joseph Aoun of the Lebanese Army, uttered an assurance that the military would overcome what he defined as a “crucial and delicate period” that Lebanon is facing. The military chief cautioned of a gradually unsustainable situation but said that the institution remains on solid ground against any condition.

“We believe that we will overcome this crucial and delicate period thanks to the strong will of our soldiers, and to the support of the Lebanese people and friendly countries,” Gen. Aoun held.

His comments came as 20 members of the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG), including European and Arab countries, the UN, EU, and other international organizations appeared at a virtual conference on Thursday to support the army.

The conference, organized by France, in collaboration with Italy and the UN, aimed to mobilize support through in-kind aid for the Lebanese Army, such as food, medicine and spare parts for its military equipment, in light of the collapse of the pound and the effect of the country’s struggling economy on the military.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said: “We are certain that the Lebanese army remains capable of fulfilling its duties in maintaining security and stability.”

Her Italian counterpart, Lorenzo Guerrini, emphasized the importance of “quickly responding to the needs of the army by providing it with basic support requirements.”

Joana Wronecka, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, commented that the army must be kept “cohesive and operative.”

Zeina Akar, Lebanon’s caretaker Defense Minister remarked: “Taking into consideration the unstable environment full of upheaval and uncertainty that surrounds Lebanon, the army is a guarantee for stability and for the security of the Lebanese people.”

Lebanon is at the point of political stalemate and the biggest economic crisis in its history, and there are prospects for the army to step in to protect public safety, as the political situation has brought Lebanon to the brink of collapse.

Though dissatisfaction is also growing among Lebanon’s security forces over a currency crash that has rubbed out most of the value of their salaries. Lebanon’s pound has lost 90 percent of its value against the dollar since late 2019.

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