Saudi Arabia ceases $3 billion military aid to Lebanon
Iran Press TV
Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:27PM
Saudi Arabia has suspended a $3 billion package to the Lebanese army and the remainder of a $1 billion in aid to its internal security forces.
The decision, announced on Friday, comes following recent victories by the Syrian army, backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance fighters, against the Takfiri militants fighting to topple the Damascus government.
Riyadh proceeded to 'a total evaluation of its relations with the Lebanese republic' in light of positions taken by Hezbollah, an unnamed official told the Saudi Press Agency.
The Syrian forces, backed by the Hezbollah fighters and Russian warplanes, have recently made major advances against militants.
Syrian government forces have been fighting a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Some 470,000 people have been killed and 1.9 million injured, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.
The $3 billion package was provided to Lebanon to buy military equipment from France. The Arab country received the first shipment of weapons in April 2015.
Saudi Arabia also halted the remainder of a $1 billion in aid for Lebanese security forces.
The SPA statement said the Saudi official also criticized Beirut for not condemning attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran last month.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 in the wake of the attacks which came amid demonstrations held in front of its embassy in Tehran as well as its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad by angry protesters who were censuring the Al Saud family for executing top cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr a day earlier. The cleric was an outspoken critic of Riyadh's policies. Iranian officials strongly condemned the attacks and arrested over 100 people in connection to the transgression.
A Lebanese military source told AFP that the 'Lebanese army command hasn't been informed' of the Saudi suspension of aid.
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