BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam said in remarks published Saturday that the government is working on a legal mechanism to spend the $1 billion Saudi grant to the military and security agencies.
"The primary topic of talks with [former] Prime Minister [Saad] Hariri was the Saudi grant to the Army and Lebanon’s security forces and we are in the process of creating a legal method to spend the grant under my supervision and the government's,” Salam told An-Nahar.
Hariri arrived in Beirut Friday morning, in a surprise return to the country after a little over three years of self-imposed exile, to oversee the spending of the Saudi grant that Riyadh announced earlier this week with the aim of supporting the Army to combat terrorism.
The Future Movement leader held talks with Salam at the Grand Serail Friday morning and joined a security meeting later in the day to discuss the Saudi grant with security and military commanders.
"We want him to stay so we can cooperate and shoulder responsibilities together,” Salam said.
The weekend clashes in Arsal between the Army and Islamist militants from Syria raised concerns over Lebanon’s security with Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi saying that gunmen had planned to attack the military.
Despite the end of the clashes and the withdrawal of fighters from ISIS and the Nusra Front from the northeastern town, at least 20 soldiers remained in captivity.
Salam said the government was following up on developments in Arsal and the status of the kidnapped soldiers and security forces personnel.