File - Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf arrives to attend a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The Lebanese Army will receive $17 million worth of aid from France, to include training and equipment such as anti-tank missiles, a French official said Thursday. France's announcement came during Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf's meeting with his French counterpart in Paris. Saudi Arabia halted a $4 billion package in military aid to Lebanon in February 2016 .The ministerial committee tasked with discussing the 2018 state budget concluded its main discussion Thursday but agreed to a final meeting to review changes ahead of forwarding it to Cabinet next week. Cabinet hopes to to pass the draft budget ahead of major conferences to support Lebanon due to take place in the coming weeks as well as parliamentary elections scheduled for May 6 . The meeting is expected to be held Sunday evening.Despite renewed anticipation of a meeting between Hariri and Geagea, who have not met since Hariri's November 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, no meeting has been set in stone.However, the results of a renewed effort by Saudi Arabia to reach out to Lebanon and its noteworthy welcome of Hariri in Riyadh last month remain to be seen.
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