More than 7 hundred million euros have been pledged to help rebuild Lebanon after the country’s prime minister made a direct appeal to a donor conference in Stockholm. Fouad Siniora assured the gathering that none of the funds would be distributed by Hizbollah: “The direct damage from this last invasion to our infrastructure and to our public and private property is now running into the billions of dollars. While lost GDP, jobs losses and the long term direct and indirect costs to the economy, including lost revenues in tourism, agriculture and industry are expected to be billions more.”
While spelling out Lebanon’s economic needs, he also stressed the political: “If Israel does not immediately lift its humiliating siege on Lebanon, as it was justly described by the Secretary General Kofi Annan, if it does not withdraw immediately from the positions it still occupies within Lebanon in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, the recovery process including this conference today which you earnestly called for, will be severely undermined.”
The European Union has already pledged 42 million euros for urgent relief needs such as bomb clearance and road -rebuilding. The clearing of an oil slick that spread along the Lebanese coast after the bombing of a power station is also seen as a priority.