Beirut, 27th July 2000
Intervention of H.E. the Ambassador of the United States of America
Mr. David Satterfield
On behalf of my government I join with all of us in this room in expressing a deepest appreciation to the government for arranging this conference and for the efforts which have been undertaken by the government in presenting to us the donor community plans of which have been very well considered for the development and the reconstruction for the south and we will be examining with care in the days and weeks to come.
I want to assure you that the United States shares the government of Lebanonís desire and desires expressed by those in this room to begin the process of reconstruction in South Lebanon. This is a significant challenge we must not lose sight in our focus on details of what itís taken place here. With Israelís withdrawal from the south, with the end of 22 years of occupation an opportunity and a challenge exists for you as well as for us. It is a challenge and an opportunity which we look forward to ceasing and to working with you to develop in a way that serve the best interests to the people of Lebanon particularly the people of the south who have suffered so much and so long and by so doing to enhance security, stability for Lebanon and the people of Lebanon and the region as a whole.
The challenges you face are not challenges which you must confront alone. You have great support the presence of UNIFIL in the south, this international effort to focus upon assistance in the south these serve your interests and serve our interests in strengthening all of the goals we wish to see achieved for Lebanon and for its people. In this regard, we look forward to the eminent employment of both united nations forces and Lebanese forces as a means of maintaining peace, stability and security in the South Lebanon.
The positive situation we are seeing develop and which we hope to see continue to develop in the days ahead has come about in a large part due to the extraordinary leadership shown by the United Nations, by your government, by the contribution of the Security Council, by Arabic international solidarity, we have every expectation that those trends will continue. In this regard, Iíd like to a special recognition the truly exceptional efforts that itíd been played by the United Nations and the government of Lebanon in facing the very difficult challenges in the south and the ultimate arrangements to ensure that the UNIFIL could deploy had taken place. It is to your credit and credit of the United Nations particularly Special Representative Larson and Secretary General Anan that we now face of this decision in the very near future.
All parties in this room and parties not present here have a state in stability and development of South Lebanon that is why weíre here we want to do everything we can to help advance that goal stability, security and the enhancement and establishment and reestablishment of the sovereignty and authority of the Lebanese State.
Just as it is come upon us the international community to do all we can to help you so we also believe and in this, I join in the comments by many of my colleagues particularly the ambassador from Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom it is in come upon to the government of Lebanon to do all that it can. It is a fact that a comprehensive and effective international assistance efforts will require the government of Lebanon to exercise to the fullest extent possible its sovereignty and authority in civil and security matters throughout the south.
This is not a conditionality imposed by the United Nations or the United States or the international community upon the government of Lebanon it is a practical recognition of the reality of what Lebanon and the people of Lebanon require and demand we look forward working with you in this process and supporting your own efforts in this regard.
To turn to the focus of this conference on the development and reconstruction assistance the United States does not look to others to bear the burden of such assistance we have our own part to play we are currently engaged in assistance efforts throughout Lebanon focusing some 250 villages over 700 projects that benefit directly some six hundred thousand Lebanese these projects help Lebanese help themselves not just today but for the future we work with them we do not impose upon them the means necessary to improve their standards of life and with it the economy of the country.
We also hope by our programs to assist in those reform efforts which the government is committed too to enhancing the role of institutions in Lebanese national life to enhancing the economy the productive economy of Lebanon and to helping raise for all Lebanese standards of living and their buy providing more prosperous future hope for this country.
With respect to the south, the United States is currently providing assistance through non-governmental organizations to 45 villages in the south for basic infrastructure, civil society, environmental activities and income production. More than 160 specific projects have already been completed or are under way today. The United States funded world rehabilitation fund, has surveyed almost fifteen hundred villages including 67 in south Lebanon to establish the extendable location of land mines and unexploded organic. A problem whose magnitude we recognize fully and which we wish to remain engaged with you.
The program to send this information vital information to promote mine awareness and to assist the tragic victims of lives and their families. We have plans for extending our current programs in the south in the immediate future with additional system derived from motorized communities and that money will be applied in the very near weeks to come.
Yesterdayís tour to the south in which US agency for international development of officials provided an excellent sense of the needs of this deprived area, deprived from governmental attention for too long, deprived from association with the rest of Lebanon for too long by the fact of the occupation. It is time to change the status of the South, it is time to make the south part of Lebanon as the Akkar, as the Bekaa, as other regions are part of Lebanon.
This is your goal it is without question our goal as well.
A follow up donor meeting to coordinate assistance efforts must be carefully planned and executed if it is to succeed proposed projects in priorities must be studied well and discussed among perspective donors of bilateral, multilateral, and institutional.
In this regard, I wish to associate my self with Mr. Anderson from the World Bank. We strongly believe that a consultant group consisting of government representatives and senior officials from donor capitals will offer the best framework for a constructive donor process which yields to Lebanon and the Lebanese what they require meaningful genuine assistance.
We believe it can work for Lebanon as well and we look forward in the sessions later in the day to additional discussion with you on these things.
In closing Mr. Prime Minister I would note that the presence of so many colleagues in the diplomatic court the United Nations, International Financial Institutions is the testimony to a collective interest in the revival of the south Lebanon let us work together and begin preparing of what we face.