France Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud walks alongside French President Francois Hollande following a meeting with Saudi businessmen in Riyadh. Reuters

France and Saudi Arabia have sealed a deal that will arm the Lebanese army with $3bn (£1.87m) worth of weapons to contain the threat from Syria, the French foreign minister announced.

"I welcome the signing of the contract to assist the Lebanese army," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement. "This agreement, financed by a Saudi donation, will strengthen the Lebanese army, which is the guarantor of the unity and stability of Lebanon."

Fabius added that the agreement would help the Lebanese army "fulfil its mission to defend territory and in the fight against terrorism during a time at which Lebanon is threatened".

There was no confirmation on what weapons would be sent to Lebanon but it was revealed that the arms would be sent by Paris and paid for by Riyadh.

Earlier this year, French President Francois Hollande told an official dinner at the Elysee presidential palace that Lebanon is a "great, but vulnerable country" and it "needs security" to deal with the growing threat of the Islamic State.

"We have come together, Saudi Arabia and France, to help Lebanon on the condition that it also helps itself, for its own security," he said.

Hollande said France and Saudi Arabia have a "shared priority of peace and security in the Middle East".

Saudi Arabia, despite supporting the Sunni uprisings against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is working to counter the rise of Islamic State in the region.