On a visit to Paris, the Saudi crown prince is said to have ironed out most obstacles to a multi-billion-euro plan to equip the Lebanese army with French weapons in the face of regional instability, but one final signature is still missing.

Sources with knowledge of the talks told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday that the absence of the finance minister among the group of Saudi officials accompanying Defence Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to Paris was the official reason for the delay.

“The tripartite agreement is complete and the list of equipment has been established with the Lebanese army,” said Gérard Bapst, a member of the ruling Socialist parliamentary party, quoting sources in the French presidency. “Only the signature of the finance minister, who is undergoing medical treatment in the US, is missing.” […]