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UAE pledges $200m to support Lebanon armed forces

Fears of economic crisis have hovered over Lebanon as war in Syria has pushed more than one million refugees across border
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri addresses a conference in Paris on Friday (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates said on Saturday that it will give Lebanon's armed forces $200m in aid to help "stabilise" the country.

The foreign ministry said that $100m would go to the army and $100m to other state security services in Lebanon, which borders war-torn Syria.

The oil-rich Gulf country said its support was a "continuation of efforts made for the stability and prosperity of [Lebanon's] people".

Fears of an economic crisis have hovered over the small Middle Eastern country since the crisis in Syria began more than seven years ago, pushing more than one million refugees to flee across the border into Lebanon.

The "resilience and strength" of Lebanon's military and security institutions was a priority given the region's "delicate circumstances," the statement said.

At a mid-March meeting in Rome, the international community pledged to help strengthen the Lebanese army. 

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France, in particular, said it would release a credit line of $492m.  

On Friday, the international community announced it would provide more than $11bn to modernise Lebanon's economy and strengthen its stability, threatened by regional crises, particularly the war in neighbouring Syria.

Saudi Arabia offered Lebanon a $1bn credit line, two years after cancelling a similar amount of aid in protest at Hezbollah's military support for the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

Nadim Minia, a senior adviser to the Lebanese prime minister, said the $11bn total included the $1bn renewal of the Saudi Arabian credit line.

The loans and donations, announced at a conference in Paris aimed at supporting the Lebanese economy, are intended to help finance investment projects over the next five years.

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