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 Cabinet is set to meet this week to clear the way for the signing of a military cooperation agreement between Lebanon and Russia, official sources said Sunday, in the government's latest effort to reinforce the Lebanese Army's capabilities.During an official visit to Moscow last September, Hariri urged Russia to support the Lebanese Army and called for greater economic and military cooperation between the two countries.Russian media reports said that Moscow and Beirut began in early February discussing an agreement to allow port visits by Russian naval forces and military aircraft to Lebanese facilities.On Feb. 3, the Russian government directed the Defense Ministry to conclude an agreement with Lebanon on increased military cooperation, the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor reported.Signed by the Russian premier, the draft agreement proposes the use of Lebanese facilities by the Russian military, a broader exchange of military information, along with deepening bilateral cooperation on international security issues and deepening collaboration against terrorism and piracy, the monitor said, quoting the Russian news agency Interfax.It is one of three international conferences aimed at supporting Lebanon.Hariri said last week that Lebanon was seeking $6 billion for a five-year infrastructure program at the CEDRE conference.
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