Lebanon News

Machnouk discusses security cooperation in Russia

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk with a delegation meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Kolokoltsev in Moscow, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. (The Daily Star/Antony Bastakov, HO)

BEIRUT: Moscow has received a list of military equipment Lebanese security services are in need of, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said at the end of an official visit to Russia Friday.

“We have prepared a list of the devices and equipment required to be bought from Russia,” Machnouk said during a news conference.

Machnouk said Lebanon would be able to buy Russian equipment as part of the $1 billion Saudi grant for the country’s security forces.

“We requested Russia’s backing in arming the Internal Security Forces and General Security and providing them with logistical support,” he added.

“Lebanon has been suffering for years from extremist terrorism and we’ve found that Russian officials are ready to help us in this regard,” he added.

Heading a security delegation to Russia to discuss security cooperation, Machnouk held meetings with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

Machnouk explained that Russian officials shared identical ideas about the need for boosting moderation in Lebanon at a time when the Middle East is being swept by sectarian extremism.

Machnouk added that he had discussed security cooperation between the two countries with the Russian officials.

“We laid a draft agreement between the interior ministries of the two countries and preparations are underway to sign it later,” he said.

Machnouk said that he had agreed with his Russian counterpart to hold a second meeting in November at France’s Monte Carlo to continue discussions about issues that are of interest to both countries, ahead of the 83rd Interpol General Assembly, which will be held in November in Monaco.

According to Machnouk, Russian officials offered to train police officers at their national police academy on modern means to counter terrorism and organized crime.

He revealed that the Lebanese Army’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Walid Salman, would be visiting Moscow soon to follow up on various files.

He said that Russian officials were closely monitoring the situation in Lebanon and that they supported the election of a president as soon as possible.

Machnouk added that Russia was eager for Lebanese Christians not to face the sufferings that Christians of Iraq and Syria were subject to.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 20, 2014, on page 2.




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