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40 Countries Meet in Stockholm to Pledge Aid to Lebanon


More than 40 nations are taking part in a donors' conference in Stockholm Thursday, pledging their aid for Lebanon's reconstruction following the devastating conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Sweden, hosting the meeting, aims to raise $500 million to help Lebanon meet its short-term rebuilding needs.

The European Union says it will contribute $54 million to help Lebanon, and most of the EU's 25 member states are expected to pledge additional funds.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait previously have promised more than $1 billion in aid to Lebanon, and Prime Minister Fuad Siniora's government has received other humanitarian shipments already. The money raised in the Stockholm today will provide temporary housing for tens of thousands of Lebanese whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged during the 34-day war.

Other aid priorities include rebuilding damaged roads and bridges and restoring electricity and water supplies. Lebanon also is asking for help in clearing away landmines and unexploded cluster bombs, which have killed or injured scores of people since the fighting stopped.

Senior officials from Europe, the United States, Asia and the Middle East are in Stockholm for the donors' conference, along with representatives from the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the Red Cross and World Health Organization.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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