Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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At the start of the week, the Lebanese government was poised to press ahead on a military agreement with Russia until Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf asked for the Cabinet article to be postponed.Multiple Western diplomats in Beirut voiced their surprise over the potential for any agreement between Lebanon and Russia. The agreement comes after Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited Moscow in September 2017 where he called on Russia to support the Lebanese Army, in addition to increased cooperation between the two states.Under the draft agreement, approved by Russian president Vladimir Putin, Lebanon would open air and sea facilities for the Russian military and the two sides would engage in a broader exchange of military information on terrorism and piracy, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.The U.S. Embassy in Beirut said "no comment" when asked about U.S. or U.K. pressure on the Lebanese government to drop the deal.Gen. Terrence J. McKenrick had concluded his visit to Lebanon.
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