France will provide its final signature to activate the Saudi-funded $3 billion military aid package for the Lebanese Army in three days, Prime Minister Tammam Salam told reporters during a flight to Paris Wednesday, according to the Daily Star.
“On the 13th of this month, the final papers between France the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be signed, so that France could start delivering the weapons to Lebanon,” Salam told reporters accompanying him to the French capital.
The aid package was announced last December by then-President Michel Sleiman. The $3 billion deal will go to buy French weapons, equipment, vehicles for the Lebanese Army. It will also cover the cost for military training.
In a chat on board the plane, Salam explained that his visit will mostly focus on the presidential impasse. He said French President Francois Hollande had personally showed interest in helping Lebanon resolve its political deadlock to elect a president.
“The French are making an effort, and we will communicate with them in this framework,” the prime minister said.
Salam said the matter had “regional and international” dimensions, and that any foreign efforts to help Lebanon reach a solution were welcomed.
Salam’s trip came after Jean-François Girault, head of the French foreign ministry’s Middle East and North Africa office, visited Beirut and met with Lebanese officials earlier this week.
“Girault’s visit was part of a regional and international movement to help Lebanon face this challenge,” Salam said.