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Countries Pledge $940-Million to Rebuild Lebanon at Donors' Conference


Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson says donor nations have pledged $940 million to help rebuild Lebanon.

Eliasson said Thursday at an international donors' converence in Stockholm the pledge is almost twice the amount that had been expected.

More than 50 countries took part, with the European Union and United States making major contributions.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said a month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon wiped out 15 years of post-civil war rebuilding.

He said none of the pledges will make their way into Hezbollah's hands, promising that Lebanese government agencies will give the money directly to those who need it.

In southern Beirut Thursday, Lebanese workers distributed U.N food supplies to needy families whose homes were destroyed or damaged during the fighting.

Mr. Siniora said Lebanon's reconstruction will be severely undermined unless Israel lifts its land, sea, and air blockade of Lebanon.

Israel has said it will keep the blockade until the new U.N. peacekeeping force is in place.

Including previous contributions, donor countries have pledged $1.2 billion to rebuild Lebanon.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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