BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks Saturday with envoys of countries comprising the International Support Group for Lebanon, explaining the $1 billion Saudi grant offered to the Lebanese Army and security agencies to combat terrorism.
US Ambassador David Hale, Canadian Ambassador Hilary Childs-Adams, the acting Special Coordinator for Lebanon Ross Mountain, as well as representatives from embassies of France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia, Italy and the European Union attended the meeting at Hariri’s downtown residence.
During the meeting, Hariri informed them of the grant donated by Saudi King Abdullah to the Army, saying there was ongoing contact to benefit from the grant to “meet the needs of the Army and security forces, and enable them to carry out their tasks, combat terrorism and strengthen security and stability.”
According to Hariri’s office, the meeting also focused on the assistance that can be provided by the countries in the support group to help Lebanon withstand the growing needs of the Syrian refugees and their host communities.
Hariri said he returned to oversee the spending of the Saudi grant that Riyadh announced earlier this week with the aim of supporting the Army to combat terrorism.
Hariri, who arrived in Beirut Friday, in a surprise return to the country after a little over three years of self-imposed exile due to security concerns, also met with Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyildiz.
“It was a big pleasure to see ... Hariri back in Beirut. I wanted to greet him and express our good wishes for his stay here. I think that his return will play a positive role in strengthening dialogue, stability and the armed forces,” the envoy said
The Future Movement leader also received phone calls from various political leaders, greeting him on his safe return.
Among the officials were head of the Reform and Change parliamentary bloc Michel Aoun, MP Walid Jumblatt, Former Minister Elias Murr, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Minister Wael Abu Faour , MPs Ahmed Karami, Ghazi Aridi, Anwar Khalil, Talal Arslan, and Druze Sheikh Naim Hasan.