Linked with Samir Makdisi – Lebanon.
Al Bawaba (Homepage), October 05, 2006 – Restoring bridges over political troubled water: Earlier this month, Lebanon’s parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri warned that Lebanon should not miss the “golden opportunity” to receive significant aid from Arab states and the international community. … // … Hariri also mentioned the compensation mechanism for the private sector which is being established by Seniora government. In addition, he spoke about incentives and tax reductions which will be granted to business owners through agreements to be signed with various Arab and Islamic funds, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Hariri pointed to the connection between the need to maintain political and security calm and the actual arrival of the much-needed funds.
By this, he sent strong hints to Hizbullah, saying: “We are talking about funds provided mainly by Arab nations, but this depends on the optimal utilization of the current opportunity. This will be implemented during the next Arab League meeting while most of the aid will come from the international conference to be hosted by the Seniora government in Beirut by the end of this year. This is a golden opportunity for us today, and we should therefore take responsibility at this time, and direct efforts to stem internal political conflict which threaten our steadfastness and national unity.” … // … Lebanese economic authorities are not just concerned about the direct and immediate impact of the war, but also about Lebanon’s future economic sustainability, as the political situation continues to be less than stable. … // … Regarding Dahia, which was bombed on an almost daily basis by Israel during the war, Hizbullah has had to cope with claims that it is trying to get state compensation in zones where many building violations existed. On this issue, the Lebanese deputy and Hizbullah member Hussein Hajj Hassan, stated that the violations were insignificant and thus claims against Hizbullah are not justified. For its part, the government insists that as long as criteria for compensations are not met, no money will be transferred for reconstruction. Hassan expressed his sorrow that, in contrast to other war-torn areas in Lebanon which received foreign aid, the southern suburb was left to fend for itself.
Regarding the compensation policy of Hizbullah, its leader Hassan Nasrallah clarified in a televised interview days after the war ended that Hizbullah would compensate rightful owners of damaged or destroyed homes, while reconstruction of infrastructure facilities such as roads and bridges would fall under the government’s jurisdiction. … // … The Civil Works ministry has so far confirmed the repair of 55 out of 95 roads, and added that funds were raised for rebuilding 40 out of the 60 bridges destroyed. On October 3, the Lebanese press reported on a number of bridges reconstructed by the Civil Works ministry in cooperation with engineering units of the French Army, including the bridge to the airport which is located near the southern suburbs of Beirut . It was also reported that British engineering teams would be helping to rebuild bridges in southern Lebanon. … // … If the US$70 million committed by the World Bank is taken into consideration, it seems Hariri’s words on the need to “not to miss the golden opportunity” are well spoken. (Read the whole long article on this page of Al Bawaba).
Origin of this article: 2006 Mena Report.