Lebanese PM to Visit Moscow for Military Talks
The Russian Embassy announced this week that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri plans to visit Moscow for discussions on political, economic and military cooperation between the two countries.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Embassy said: "A few days ago, the fourth meeting of the Russian-Lebanese Inter-Governmental Committee for Military-Technical Cooperation took place, confirming both sides' determination to strengthen their constructive engagement."
The statement added that the two sides would pursue a sustained development in this respect during the upcoming phase, within the context of preparing for Hariri’s visit to Moscow and through contacts underway between the defense and interior ministries of both countries.
Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the final date for Hariri’s visit has not been set yet. However, they said the PM should visit Moscow by the end of 2019.
The sources stressed the important relations between Hariri and Russia, contrary to all previous reports seeking to spread false information.
“Hariri plans to discuss several issues, including political, economic, and military partnership, particularly that several Russian companies plan to participate in oil and gas exploration,” the sources said.
In 2018, Russia’s Novatek was one of three companies to win bids for gas exploration rights in blocs 4 and 9, off the Lebanese coast.
The company has a 20-year contract with the Lebanese government, as of January, to maintain and expand oil storage installations in the northern city of Tripoli.
Another Russian oil company, Lukoil, has also shown interest to join the second bidding round, expected at the beginning of 2020.
On Monday, Hariri denied allegations published by local newspaper Al-Akhbar that the PM is avoiding military cooperation with Russia.
Hariri has visited Moscow several times to discuss Russian aid to enhance the Lebanese military's ability and secure the country's borders.