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Senior UN official hails Lebanese seizure of refugee camp

Senior UN official hails Lebanese seizure of refugee camp

A senior United Nations official welcomed the Lebanese army’s full seizure over the weekend of the Nahr el-Bared camp, which has been the scene of months of intense combat with Fatah el-Islam gunmen.

“The Lebanese army has extinguished this serious threat posed by Fatah el-Islam to Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty and stability,” said UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Geir O. Pedersen said, noting that over 150 Lebanese soldiers died “to uphold these principles.”

“The fight against Fatah el-Islam in Nahr el-Bared was a fight of both Lebanese and Palestinians against terrorism and is a victory for all of Lebanon,” he noted.

The humanitarian obstacles facing Palestinian families displaced by the violence must be tackled, while the efforts must be intensified to rapidly reconstruct the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp and support Lebanese communities affected by the conflict, the Special Coordinator said.

Mr. Pedersen said he gives his full support to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s call for a donor meeting in the capital Beirut on 10 September.

He also conveyed the UN’s condolences to the families of the soldiers and civilians killed, and expressed wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.

Before the fighting began in late May, the camp in northern Lebanon was home to nearly 31,000 people, including about 8,000 classified by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as special hardship cases.