Labanon says to approve army plan after deadly Israel attack

Two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and a senior Israeli officer were killed in a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday.

Labanon says to approve army plan after deadly Israel attack

Lebanon said on Saturday it was committed to building up its armed forces after a deadly border clash with Israel.

Two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and a senior Israeli officer were killed in a rare cross-border skirmish on Tuesday.

Speaking in the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh where the clash occurred, President Michel Suleiman said the cabinet would meet to ratify a three- or five-year plan to arm the military so that it can protect the nation's dignity.

"The government will put forth a plan to arm the army regardless of the position of some countries," Suleiman was quoted as saying by the National News Agency. He did not say when the plan would be approved.

"Israel uneasy"

Defence Minister Ehud Barak of Israel that gets major US military aid, is not happy with international support to Lebanon's amry.

"We think it is a mistake to arm the Lebanese army with weapons, with advanced systems," Barak said in an interview with Israel Radio earlier this week.

Asked whether Paris or Washington had paid attention to Israel's complaint, Barak said: "Not really. Not really.

Nuclear-armed Israel attacked the Hezbollah group in 2006 that that cost Lebanon a heavy civilian toll but failed to defeat its guerrilla force on the ground.

Hezbollah that holds 10 seats in Lebanon's 30-member unity government formed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, did not take part in the clash.

The Lebanese army said it first fired warning shots, then Israelis fired at their soldiers. Israeli artillery and tank fire followed. But Israel denied the first firing.

"US backing"

The United States has provided more than $720 million in assistance to the Lebanese army since 2006, according to the U.S. embassy website.

In Washington, asked whether the United States was confident the Lebanese army was not being manipulated by any particular political group, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said:

"We are, as we've said many times, we're in support of the civilian government in Lebanon," he said according to a transcript of an Aug. 5 daily press briefing.

"And we think improving the capability and performance of the Lebanese government, both across the government, but including in the security sector, contributes to stability in the region and is in our interest."


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ağustos 2010, 17:05

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