Saniora appeals to Arab states to boost aid

October 17, 2006 14:55

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora appealed to Arab countries Tuesday to increase and accelerate their donations to Lebanon to help it rebuild from what he called "a series of devastating Israeli invasions" in the past 30 years. Addressing a meeting of Arab finance ministers, Saniora called for a quick infusion of Arab funds to enable Lebanon to recover from the 34-day Israeli offensive in July and August and the civil war of 1975-90. "The Lebanese have paid a heavy price in lives and properties as a result of this devastating war. Also, nearly a quarter of Lebanon's population was displaced from their homes during the (Israeli) aggression. Direct and indirect economic losses reached billions of dollars," Saniora told the Arab League's Economic and Social Council. Lebanon says it needs about US$3.5 billion to repair buildings and infrastructure damaged in the offensive. But even before this year's destruction, Lebanon was saddled with a public debt of about $38 billion - most of which stemmed from the costs of reconstruction from the civil war.

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