BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman called Sunday for implementing the recommendations of the International Support Group for Lebanon, during a telephone conversation with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. “[Sleiman] highlighted the importance of implementing the recommendations of the International Support Group for Lebanon which met in New York [last year] and providing support for meetings that will be held in France and Italy to implement these recommendations,” a statement by the president’s office said.
Ban telephoned Sleiman to extend his greetings after the formation of Lebanon’s new government.
Bringing together world powers, the ISGL was launched by Ban and Sleiman in September in New York with the aim of supporting Lebanon’s state institutions and the Lebanese Army as well as helping the country better manage hosting over a million Syrian refugees.
France will host a meeting next month for the ISGL aimed at helping Lebanon cope with the influx of Syrian refugees. Last week, former Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour discussed the preparations for the meeting with French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli. Italy will also convene an international conference to support Lebanon’s Army later this year.
Sleiman called for providing international backing to the Lebanese Army to provide it with all the arms and equipment it needed, without any obstacles or restrictions, so the military could defend Lebanon, preserve civil peace and confront terrorism.
Last year, Saudi Arabia granted the Army $3 billion to purchase military equipment from France.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 17, 2014, on page 3.