United States President George W. Bush announced yesterday that the US will give Lebanon emergency aid to the tune of $230 million for reconstructing homes damaged during the war. In addition the US will give Lebanon tens of thousands of tons of wheat.
President Bush also called for a quick deployment of the international force in southern Lebanon and to stabilize the ceasefire in the region. Bush promised that the US will provide logistical support and will supply intelligence information to the force. The US is also working on improving the mandate of the force, so that more countries could join the effort.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres warned yesterday that the funds the international community is giving Lebanon for the purpose of reconstruction could end up in the hands of Hizballah. “I suggest that everyone learn the lesson from the Palestinians where the money donated by the European Union was taken by Arafat’s Fatah movement, and caused corruption that eventually led to their collapse. There is a need to rebuild Lebanon, but not to build what will destroy it,” Peres said during a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot. Peres also expressed his disappointment that Europe is not taking a greater role in the international force.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said in a meeting with UN envoy Terje Larsen that the implementation of the ceasefire agreement is an important test for the reputation of the United Nations. Peretz asked Larsen that the international community fulfill its obligation to return the kidnapped soldiers. Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni