The Milan anti-tank missiles delivered by France to the Lebanese army are old and do not meet the standards, Lebanese daily as-Safir reported on Wednesday.
“The Lebanese army exert efforts to secure equipments required for the battle against terrorism, especially that the shipment of the two Saudi grants ($ 4 billion worth) still ebbing and flowing, amid complications related to personal, financial, administrative and political factors,” as-Safir said in the report.
The daily noted that the army relies today on the US military aid ($ 1 billion worth) which has recently become greater, yet, it doesn’t fulfill the military’s needs.
Meanwhile, the paper said that Paris’ military contribution is “frustrating” after the $3billion grant only comprised 47 Milan anti-tank missiles, delivered last month by France.
When the missiles were delivered, French Defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian by himself oversaw the shipment during a ceremony in Beirut marking the arrival of the long-anticipated and badly needed weapons, the daily said.
Then it became clear that this ceremony was but a “French parade”, as-Safir said, noting that this “parade” however, could not hide the truth which says that the “Milan missiles are old and were brought from the French depots in a hurry.”
Quoting well-informed sources, the Lebanese daily reported that some of these missiles are no more valid due to leakage of moisture, noting that the Lebanese army has the right to ask for exchanging these missiles.
“Any way, the question here is: Can this French contribution be considered a boost for the army or is it just worthless?” The daily concluded that these delays and complications are “suspicious” especially that the army badly needs these weapons.
The Saudi grant was announced in December 2013 by then-president Michel Sleiman. It was repeatedly delayed for several political reasons.