BEIRUT — The Lebanese army received three military helicopters provided by the United States on Friday, the state-run National News Agency and the army reported.
During a ceremony organized in Beirut, the US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea affirmed "the continuation of work to consolidate relations between the United States and Lebanon,” the NNA reported.
Army General Ziyad Haykal stated that the military assistance provided to the army will “enhance its air force capabilities, and help the army to serve its national goals.”
He also thanked US authorities and Shea for "the repeated initiatives to enhance the capabilities of the military institution."
In January, the US stated that it planned to reroute $67 million of military assistance for Lebanon's armed forces to support members of the military as the country grapples with a financial meltdown.
The economic crisis in Lebanon — one of the worst in the world since the mid-1800s, according to the World Bank — has depleted the budget of the state and armed forces and plunged much of the country into poverty.
The current average salary of a soldier amounts to less than $100 per month. Prior to the crisis, the average soldier's monthly salary stood closer to $800. The army regularly receives aid from foreign countries, most recently from the US, Italy, Turkey and Qatar.