Senior UN official tours south Lebanon to assess recovery and reconstruction efforts

Senior UN official tours south Lebanon to assess recovery and reconstruction efforts

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A senior United Nations official toured south Lebanon today to see first-hand the progress of the world body’s recovery and reconstruction work, which began after the end of last summer’s war between Israel and Hizbollah.

“I have come to south Lebanon again to see with my own eyes how the Lebanese and the international community have joined forces in rebuilding homes and infrastructures,” UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Geir Pedersen said during a walking tour in the town of Bint Jbeil.

“I am here to listen to concerns so that we may find a way to enhance the effectiveness of our assistance,” he said.

To this end, Mr. Pedersen, who began his day in Tyre where he was updated by UN personnel about the Organization’s activities in the region, met with several authorities in Bint Jbeil, including Ministers of Parliament Hassan Fadlallah and Ayoub Hemayyed as well as Mayor Ali Bazzi, to listen to their opinions and explain projects being undertaken by the UN.

The Special Coordinator also was briefed by Force Commander General Claudio Graziano of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on the current situation in southern Lebanon, and he also spoke with UNIFIL representatives and peacekeepers.

More than 12,000 UNIFIL troops have been deployed out of the 15,000 allowed under Security Council resolution 1701, which mandated the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon and also enhanced UNIFIL to monitor the ceasefire and extend humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.