Critical of the “critical” situation, the Lebanese army chief told a virtual meeting led by France that the economic crisis would lead to the collapse of all state institutions.
A number of countries have promised to provide emergency assistance to the Lebanese army to prevent it from collapsing amid a deepening political and economic crisis in the country, although they have not provided details on the proposed assistance.
The head of the Lebanese army, Joseph Josef Aoun, said at a virtual meeting of world powers organized by France on Thursday that the nation is facing severe consequences if the current crisis in the country continues and military salaries continue to fall.
“How can a soldier support a family with a salary not exceeding $ 90?” he said in a video posted on the Army Twitter account.
“The situation is critical. “Once assumed, the economic and financial crisis will inevitably lead to the collapse of all state institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF),” he said.
Aoun said the army was “the only guarantor” of security and stability in Lebanon, “the most trusted institution in the world, inside the country.”
“Therefore, maintaining cohesion and assisting the LAF in carrying out its mission is paramount.”
France, which described the Lebanese army as “essential for the country’s stability”, hosted the meeting with partners, including the United States, Russia, China, as well as European powers, some Gulf Arab states, and Saudi Arabia.
Excerpt from the speech of the Commander of the Army, General Joseph Oze Aun during the International Virtual Conference to Support the Army# Lebanese Army # Lebanese Army https://t.co/I0EZmwjodx: pic.twitter.com/2I6B4r7ToU:
– Lebanese Army (@LebarmyOfficial) June 17, 2021
Participating countries were asked to provide food, medical supplies, spare parts for military equipment and even fuel, although they were not required to pay salaries directly. The shopping list compiled by Invarians adds millions of dollars.
The two diplomats told Reuters that not much was offered during the meeting, although most countries expressed readiness to provide bilateral assistance in the near future. They said that the further mechanism would control և coordinate any assistance that would go directly to the army and not through government channels.
Paris has sought to increase pressure on Lebanese extremist politicians, but has so far failed to push them to form a new government that is vital to opening up foreign aid.
Dissatisfaction with the security forces was growing, as the Lebanese currency lost 90 percent of its value against the US dollar, reducing the salaries of soldiers. Many have taken up extra work and some have quit their jobs.
“Even though many countries have already provided significant bilateral assistance, the gravity of the Lebanese crisis requires greater commitment from all in the system,” the French Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“The LAF remains a strong pillar of the Lebanese state,” he said.
“Their unity and professionalism remain essential to maintaining stability.”