BEIRUT: U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said on the eve of an international conference in Italy that the meeting should be able to propel the international community to give further support the Lebanese Army.
“The conference will be an opportunity to garner additional support for the Lebanese Army,” Plumbly said, in remarks published by local newspaper As-Safir.
“It will be a step forward on the path of supporting the Lebanese Army, which is moving upward since the first meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon that was held in New York, in September 2013,” he said.
The conference, which will group 40 countries and international organizations, is set to begin in Rome Tuesday. It aims at boosting international cooperation to help Lebanon’s ill-equipped Army.
Plumbly highlighted the international momentum to support the Army, which has been growing in the last year.
“There were no high expectations for international support of the Lebanese Army a year ago,” he said, adding that these expectations soon changed with several countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Saudi Arabia, France and others, investing in substantial support for the Army.
Plumbly said he hoped that the conference would address the many specialized needs for the Army, and not just focus on providing equipment.
He also pointed to a “security plan” the Lebanese Army put into effect in coordination with the United Nations, which includes armored vehicles that would be present at all times to follow up on the resolutions of the Rome conference.
Plumbly said the presidential vacuum in Lebanon should not affect global support for the Lebanese Army, but warned of the implications for Lebanon in terms of international trust.