France opens 400 million euro credit line for Lebanon

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Rome (AFP)

Lebanon received increased military support from the international community Thursday with France opening a 400 million euro ($492 million) line of credit to the country's army.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri thanked Paris at an international conference held in Rome to drum up money to bolster the armed forces of the country, long a proxy battleground for its bigger neighbours.

"This conference is important because we in Lebanon were the first to oust ISIS out of our soil -- we were able to do it with very little capabilities," Hariri said, referring to the Islamic State jihadist group.

He also condemned alleged interference by neighbour Israel.

"Israel remains the primary threat to Lebanon, its daily violations to our sovereignty must stop," he said.

Hariri said further discussion would be had to clarify the amounts pledged by each of the 40 countries at the Rome II Conference, which will be followed by two further meetings in Paris and Brussels.

France announced earlier in the month that it would provide 14 million euros to Lebanon's army, mostly in the form of anti-tank equipment.