Syrian president urges Lebanon to support Hizbullah

Assad calls for "calm and dialogue" in Lebanon; 'Ash-Sharq al-Awsat': Lebanese army to continue receiving military assistance from France despite US-Israeli opposition.

August 30, 2010 11:30
1 minute read.
 Syrian President Assad and Lebanese PM Hariri

Syria Lebanon. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus early on Monday, to discuss Syrian-Lebanese ties and to consolidate "coordination between the two countries in all fields," Syria's state-run news agency SANA reported Monday.

Hariri has visited Damascus repeatedly this year in a sign of Syria's renewed influence over Lebanon in the years since Damascus withdrew its military in 2005, ending a nearly three-decade hold on Lebanon.

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According to the report, Assad called for "calm and dialogue to solve impending problems." He also reiterated his support for the "resistance against foreign threats," and urged Hariri to support Hizbullah.

Syria backs the Lebanese group which has a large role in Lebanon's fragile national unity government.

On Sunday, Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that the Lebanese Armed Forces will continue receiving military equipment from France despite pressure from Israel and the US to halt such assistance.

Following violent border clashes between IDF and LAF forces earlier this month which left an Israeli soldier and three Lebanese dead, US Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made a statement saying that the sale of weapons to Lebanon at this time would be "irresponsible" and could "jeopardize security and stability in the region."

Last week, street battles in Beirut between Hizbullah and a small Sunni group killed three people, exacerbating sectarian tensions in Lebanon.

AP contributed to this report.

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