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Peacekeeping Presence Helps Stimulate Economy

Lebanon: Enlarged UN Peacekeeping Presence Helps Stimulate Local Economy

New York, Oct 5 2006 11:00AM

Beyond supervising the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah in southern Lebanon, clearing unexploded ordnance and providing humanitarian relief, the enhanced United Nations peacekeeping mission is also helping to revive the economy.

By 2007, UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) international civilian staff will more than double, and this will definitely influence for the better the financial market, the mission said in news release today.

UNIFIL staff members purchase commodities, rent apartments, enrol their children in schools and travel. “In addition, UNIFIL employees have many visitors who will have a significant impact on tourism and this is priceless, it improves the reputation of the country,” the mission’s Acting Chief Administrative Officer Jean-Pierre Ducharme said.

UNIFIL also provides medical and dental insurance to national staff members, reducing the burden on the Lebanese social structure. The number of national staff, which already exceeds 300, should double in the next year.

As mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1701, UNIFIL strength is to increase to up to 15,000 international troops before the end of 2006. “The soldiers spend a lot of money here, they visit local attractions, eat out, travel and this, in the end, helps to stimulate the economy, Mr. Ducharme said.

Over the last three years, UNIFIL spent approximately 60 per cent of its budget on procuring from local companies. During the past year alone, some $40 million went back to the Lebanese economy.

“Obviously, this number will increase, but it gives a good indication on how UNIFIL provides something positive for the Lebanese market,” Mr. Ducharme said.


Ends


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