PM Hariri announces deployment of additional Lebanese Armed Forces on southern border with Israel; EU, France and UK pledge funds to support LAF.
Lebanon announced on Thursday that it would deploy additional troops to its southern border with Israel in efforts to avoid future conflict with Hezbollah.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri confirmed the deployment following a meeting in Rome on Thursday. The meeting was centered on raising funds to build up and support the Lebanese Armed Forces, representatives from 40 countries, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterre and representation from the European Union in attendance.
Hariri announced the deployment stating “We will be sending more LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] troops to the south, and we stress our intention to deploy another regiment.” He claimed that “While we are thinking of ways to move from a state of cessation of hostilities to a state of permanent ceasefire, Israel continues to make plans to build walls on reservation areas along the blue line.”
So far, France pledged a reported $500 million, the European Union $61 million and the United Kingdom $13 million.
The development follows Hezbollah’s claims that Assad is a “mandatory channel for the solution” to Syria’s civil war, and that Hezbollah is prepared in case Israel “decides to carry out any foolish act”.
Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem stated ahead of the weekend that “Hezbollah is ready to confront the aggression… if Israel decides to carry out any foolish action. But it does not appear that the circumstances are for an Israeli decision for war. We have declared repeatedly and frequently that we, as the resistance, work to have permanent readiness and we are ready to confront the Israeli aggression if it happens, and therefore we are ready to defend ourself by all available means. We are working to fortify our front, and to be ready.”
On Syria, he claimed “There is no solution in Syria under the title of ‘excluding President Assad’. On the contrary, the solution in Syria is with President Assad, and he is the mandatory channel for the solution.”
Photo: Israel- Lebanon border, Wikimedia, 2018.