BEIRUT: Lebanon’s political elite expressed gratitude toward Saudi Arabia for its continuous support Thursday, noting in particular the $1 billion donation announced Wednesday to aid the Army’s battle against jihadists.
Progressive Socialist Party head Walid Jumblatt hailed Saudi Arabia for standing by Lebanon during it successive wars, paying special thanks for the most recent donation to the Lebanese Army.
“Once again the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia proves its continuous alignment with the stability and security of Lebanon, and the [kingdom] has strived for all these past years to extend all forms of political, military, economic and social support,” he said in a statement.
Jumblatt chronicled Saudi aid during the Civil War, the 2006 war with Israel and most recently the fight against terrorism, lauding the kingdom’s efforts in rehabilitation and financial aid.
“The kingdom supports the project of the Lebanese state ... through supporting official institutions, with the military institution at the forefront,” he added.
For his part, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea addressed Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah through an open letter, thanking him for his continuous support.
Geagea said that the donation showed King Abdullah’s commitment to speeding up exceptional Army aid during this critical period.
The Lebanese Forces head also hailed Abdullah “for representing moderation and the true image of Islam in the face of those who are trying to kidnap the faith and offer it to the world as a religion of extremism, hate and terrorism."
Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun met with Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad Asiri to express his thanks to Abdullah.
Aoun hailed Saudi Arabia's “brotherly stance towards Lebanon as well as its continuous care and consistent support,” saying that the aid would have a “positive impact in enforcing security and stability” despite current circumstances.
Saudi Arabia has provided the Lebanese Army, battling jihadists on the Syrian border, with $1 billion to strengthen security, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri told reporters in Jeddah Wednesday.
Sunni-dominated regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia is already financing a $3 billion package of French military equipment and arms for Lebanon's Army.