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23 June 2008
Plassnik on Donor Conference in Vienna: "The objective has been achieved – reconstruction will start in autumn"
Foreign Minister on donor conference for Nahr el Bared
Vienna, 23 June 2008 – "Today’s international donor conference in Vienna for the reconstruction of the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr el Bared in northern Lebanon, which was devastated in 2007, has resulted in additional financial pledges in the amount of 120 million dollars," announced Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at the end of the conference.
"Nahr el Bared stands for almost 6,000 families, 33,000 people, a city of the size of Wiener Neustadt or Feldkirch. Their livelihood has been destroyed in the conflict with al Qaeda terrorists. Together we will enable the inhabitants of this refugee camp to return to a life of human dignity," asserted Plassnik.
At this conference important donor countries, in particular from the Arab world, made basic financial pledges, the amounts of which will have to be specified at a later date. It can therefore be assumed that the final amount of the pledges will be considerably higher.
"We thus have a widely visible green light for the reconstruction of the refugee camp, which will take several years. In view of the encouraging international response I was confident that we would be able to raise a considerable amount. The donor conference has achieved its immediate objective. Reconstruction work on Nahr el Bared and the surrounding area may start in autumn as scheduled," stated Plassnik.
"Behind this amount there is a credible message of encouragement and confidence for both Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese people. Austria and the international community will continue their consistent commitment to a stable, sovereign and democratic Lebanon," Plassnik went on.
Austria has pledged one million euros, half of which will be used for special programmes benefiting women and particularly small entrepreneurs. Together with the foreign ministers of Greece, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Plassnik highlighted the necessity of providing joint aid to women living in the Nahr el Bared refugee camp.
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