CAABU Press Release: 30th November 2006

I received the following by e-mail, and obtained agreement with the Council for Arab-British Understanding, CAABU to reproduce it here. I do so because it refers to the continual violations of airspace and incursions into Lebanese Territory, and then the effects of the residual cluster bombs which are still killing and maiming:
“The problem of cluster bombs is very much to the fore in Lebanon. It is estimated that there are 1 million unexploded cluster bombs in the south of the country—90 per cent. of them were dropped within the last three days of the conflict—and we were told that because of that two people are killed every day while they are trying to gather in the harvest. My first question to the Minister is: what representations have been made to Israel to help that situation? We must clear those cluster weapons at the earliest opportunity and Israel has an important role to play in that.” Source Hansard 29/11/2006.
British MPs raise concerns over situation in Lebanon during
Parliamentary debate

Members of Parliament, who recently visited Lebanon on a CAABU
Parliamentary fact-finding delegation, yesterday took part in an
adjournment debate on Lebanon and the Middle East in the House of
CAABU, in conjunction with Medical Aid for Palestinians, led a
cross-party delegation to Lebanon in mid-November to witness the impact
of this summer’s conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, and the
subsequent destruction of large areas of Lebanon by Israel’s military
The delegation included four Labour MPs, Kerry McCarthy, Tom Levitt,
Shahid Malik, Andy Love, and one Liberal Democrat Colin Breed.*
The itinerary of the visit was balanced between political meetings and
‘on-the-ground’ insights into the local situation. The breadth of
political meetings afforded the delegation an insight into the positions
of the different blocs within Lebanese politics, while meetings and
tours with local NGOs highlighted the every-day obstacles faced by
people as a result of the recent conflict.
Among the high level political meetings were Prime Minister Siniora,
President Lahoud, the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, and
Mohammed Raad, the leader of the Hezbollah bloc in Parliament.
Despite the wide spectrum of people met by the delegation, the same
sentiments were echoed across the board on certain key issues, such as
the need for the international community to secure an end to the
repeated violation of Lebanese sovereign territory through repeated
Israeli over-flights, and the continued occupation of the Sheba’a farms.
In addition, the urgent need to clear 1.2 million cluster bombs across
the country, the existence of which are daily adding to the death toll
and obstructing reconstruction efforts.
Many of these concerns were raised by the MPs during the adjournment
debate on 29th November. They also drew on their personal experiences
during the visit.

The MPs will address a public meeting about their visit on Wednesday
13th December 2006 in Committee Room 12, House of Commons, Westminster,
For further information contact Nadia Evans in the CAABU office: 00 44
(0) 207 832 1310
*CAABU had assisted with a Conservative Middle East Council
parliamentary delegation to Lebanon and Syria in September 2006.
Gillian Watt
Parliamentary/ Information Officer
Council for Arab-British Understanding – CAABU
1 Gough Square
London EC4A 3DE
Tel: 0207 832 1310
Fax: 0207 832 1329

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