U.S. to give extra $67 million to Lebanon’s army, says senior U.S. official

Army soldiers are deployed after gunfire erupted in Beirut
Army soldiers are deployed after gunfire erupted in Beirut, Lebanon October 14, 2021. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

October 14, 2021

(Reuters) -The United States will offer an additional $67 million to support the Lebanese army, U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said in Beirut on Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference, Nuland said the United States was working with the Lebanese authorities, alongside the World Bank and humanitarian relief agencies, to help the country amid its deep economic crisis.

She offered condolences from the United States to the nation after violence erupted in Beirut, resulting in at least six dead and several others wounded.

Authorities said the bloodshed was a result of gunfire on protesters who were going to take part in a demonstration called by Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shi’ite group. Demonstrators had been gathering to demand the removal of the judge investigating last year’s Beirut port blast.

Hezbollah and its Shi’ite ally, the Amal movement, accused the Christian Lebanese Forces party of being behind the shootings.

Lebanon has been facing a financial meltdown, leading to shortages of basic goods, including fuel. Amid the crisis, Iran has sent fuel to Lebanon.

Nuland said any support offered by oil producing Iran was a “publicity stunt”.

(Reporting by Lilian Wagdy; Editing by Edmund Blair)