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Lebanon rejects conditional US aid

Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Murr has criticized the US for halting military aid to the Lebanese army over Israel’s security concerns.

The US Congress blocked some USD 100 million in aid to Lebanon’s military following a border clash between Israeli and Lebanese forces last week.

US Congressman Howard Berman had earlier said that the military aid to Lebanon’s Armed Forces should be blocked due to concerns of Hezbollah’s possible influence on the army and that the weapons might be used against Israel.

In response to the pro-Israeli move by the US, Murr said on Wednesday that Beirut rejects any American military assistance if it comes with conditions.

“Whoever sets as a condition that the aid should not be used to protect Lebanon’s land, people and borders against the [Israeli] enemy can keep their money or give it to Israel. We will confront [Israel] with the capabilities we own,” Murr told a news conference.

“We welcome any unconditional offer of aid to the Lebanese army, and if anyone announces they have decided to halt that aid, they are free to make that choice,” he added.

Israel has repeatedly called on the US to end its military aid to Lebanon, claiming that the Lebanese army might use the weaponry against Israel.

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