Russian-Lebanese Military Deal to Set the Stage for New Relationship Phase
The Russian government announced on Tuesday that Moscow was about to conclude a military cooperation agreement with Lebanon, which provides a comprehensive framework for coordination and joint activities for military institutions in both countries.
The Russian government’s website for documents and information, which usually publishes decrees and official decisions, announced a government decree granting the Russian Ministry of Defense powers to conduct “the necessary talks with the competent authorities in the Lebanese Republic to finalize the agreement.”
The deal will cover the exchange of information on defense and the strengthening of capabilities in the fields of international security, cooperation in combating terrorism, training of the armed forces, information sharing and the establishment of mechanisms for cooperation between the armies of the two countries in the fields of education, medicine, scientific analysis, publishing, sports and culture, in addition to maritime cooperation and joint action against piracy and terrorism.
The initial agreement, as published by the Russian government, provides for reciprocal visits by military delegations, joint exercises and training, in addition to allowing the temporary entry of warships and aircraft to the sea and air ports of the two countries, as part of the cooperation program.
The deal, when signed, will open a new phase of Russian-Lebanese relations. Moscow had previously provided aid to Lebanon, but bilateral cooperation in this area had been limited and not regulated under a comprehensive military cooperation agreement.
On a different note, US Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield arrived in Beirut on Tuesday for talks on the situation on the southern border and Block 9, informed political sources told the Central News Agency.
The sources added that Satterfield would try to convince Lebanese officials to wait before resorting to the UN Security Council to resolve a dispute with Israel over oil exploration in that sector.