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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
9 June 2008
LPDC/UNRWA Beirut – June 9, 2008
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) organized on 9 June, in cooperation with the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee a briefing session on the plan for the recovery and reconstruction of Nahr el Bared camp and surrounding areas. This comes in advance of the International Donor Conference that will be held on 23 June 2008, in Vienna.
The session was attended by a large number of Arab and Foreign Ambassadors, representing donor states, senior Lebanese and Palestinian officials, as well as members of UNRWA's Advisory Commission and representatives of other UN sister Agencies. It was an occasion for them to be briefed on the documents that will be presented during the Vienna Conference, as well as on the Master plan for the reconstruction of Nahr El Bared and the socio-economic recovery plan.
In her address, Ms Karen Abu Zayd said that “UNRWA, the Lebanese Government, and the Palestine refugee community are united in their determination to reconstruct the camp, and thus provide tangible proof of the new spirit of cooperation between the Palestinians and the Lebanese. Reconstructing Nahr el Bared camp requires a massive effort and it will be a long and difficult undertaking".
Addressing the representatives of the donor community Abou zayd said "reconstruction of the camp will also depend on you; without your help we will not have the financial capabilities to allow displaced Palestinians to return to their homes". AbuZayd continued "We have a responsibility to help the inhabitants of Nahr el Bared rebuild their lives. We have done our best to provide them with temporary assistance, now we need to rebuild their homes. And we need to take this opportunity to improve their lives".
In the opening session, Ambassador Khalil Makkawi, chairman of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee stressed in his address that the Nahr El Bared war was not at all a Lebanese – Palestinian confrontation. He extended "all his thanks to all the national and international organizations for all the efforts exerted to try to heal the wounds", and added that "Nahr el Bared camp will be under the sovereignty of the Lebanese State”.
In his address, PLO representative in Lebanon, Mr. Abbas Zaki urged representatives of the international community to join efforts to ensure the reconstruction of Nahr El Bared and help its inhabitants recover their normal life.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) had started on June 5 clearing rubble from its compound in Nahr El Bared camp which was destroyed in the conflict last year. The Lebanese Army through the Lebanese Mine Action Centre (LMAC) are providing the Agency with explosive ordnance disposal support. Rubble removal from the old camp will start very soon.