Lebanon's president will urge US officials to speed up delivery of weapons for the nation's army during a trip to Washington in which he will meet with US President Barack Obama, a Lebanese official said Saturday.
The appeal from President Michel Suleiman, who arrives in Washington Saturday, is at the heart of much of the country's political turmoil. Lebanon's government is a shaky coalition of Western-backed factions and Syrian-supported groups led by Hizbullah.
The United States has long provided military assistance to Lebanon - including $410 million to the military and the police. But America has not handed over any sophisticated arms for fear they could end up in the hands of Hizbullah, which the US lists as a terrorist group.
According to the US Embassy in Beirut, the military assistance over the past years includes aircraft, tanks, artillery, small boats, infantry weapons, ammunition, Humvees and cargo trucks. It added that the US will provide the Lebanese Armed Forces with 12 Raven unmanned reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft in the coming months.