News Column

Hariri: Military will have specialized weapons

August 12, 2014

The Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon



Aug. 12--BEIRUT -- Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri revealed Tuesday recent developments to military aid intended for the Lebanese Army, saying that financial donations would purchase specialized weapons and finance the rehabilitation of select prisons.

Hariri said that security forces have "drafted the necessary lists of requirements needed to combat terrorism."

"The Army will have special weapons and equipment that would enable them to protect the borders," he said, to a delegation of economic and trade commissions in his Downtown Beirut residence.

Hariri also cited the upcoming rehabilitation of prisons, saying that the funds are available and supporting states are ready to offer all necessary equipment.

The Future Movement head expressed hopes that positive outcomes of the newly arrived funds, most notably the $1 billion donation from Saudi Arabia, would appear in the coming months.

Hariri said that investment in the country's security contributes to overall economic growth, arguing that investment benefits from the prevalence of stability and security in the country.

Lebanon's former premier returned last week after three years in self-imposed exile over security concerns. Hariri's return, armed with $1 billion of assistance to the Army from Saudi Arabia, saw him speak out in support of the Army's mission against extremism in an attempt to shore up support for the military.

With regards to the controversial salary scale, Hariri urged the proposal of new solutions to break the legislative deadlock over the issue.

The Future bloc head said that the better proposals could have been suggested with regards to the salary scale, highlighting that a proper solution would benefit economic institutions, public servants and the country as a whole.

"The way I see it, is if everyone was actually so happy with Saad Hariri's return, and if everyone was lauding this come back, then let the occasion be one in which acceptable proposals are made in that regard," he said.

The former prime minister warned that the salary scale is a dangerous issue that could erupt at any moment, saying that methods of accommodating the problem should be found in order to protect the Lebanese economy.

"The issue has become a ticking time bomb that is a method of pressuring the entire economy," he said.

Hariri reiterated his call for presidential elections, saying that the election of a president should precede parliamentary polls.

In the case the presidential stalemate continues, he said an extension of Parliament's mandate would be necessary.

Hariri warned of a replication of the Iraqi situation, in which a complete institutional void led the country to a security crisis.

In a message to his visitors, Hariri relayed his hopes that economic institutions in the country would create jobs for Lebanese youth across all sectors.

Following the meeting, the former prime minister contacted Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, congratulating him on his presidential election victory.

Hariri expressed hopes that Turkey "would play an advanced role in resolving the accumulating crisis in the region."

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(c)2014 The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)

Visit The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon) at www.dailystar.com.lb/

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Daily Star, The (Beirut, Lebanon)


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