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Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the political and security situation in Lebanon; and what support the UK is providing to the Government of Lebanon. (103478)

The security situation has improved significantly since United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 stopped the conflict. The cessation of hostilities continues to hold and the reconstruction process is underway.

However, the political situation in Lebanon continues to be unstable with the assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel and the resignation of six Shiia members of the Cabinet.

The UK is now focussed on assisting the Government of Lebanon in implementing UNSCR 1701, which provides a political framework for peace. To this end, the UK has committed £2.5 million to provide the Government of Lebanon with security sector assistance to allow it to exercise full control of its territory as called for in UNSCR 1701. As part of this the UK is in the process of giving 47 Land Rovers to the Lebanese armed forces. UNSCR 1701 also called on the international community to take immediate steps to extend its financial and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people. For its part the UK has contributed £22.3 million in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what equipment requirements for the Lebanese armed forces the UK military team referred to in the answer of 4 September 2006, Official Report, columns 2046-47W, have identified; and if she will make a statement. (103697)

The Lebanese have a wide-ranging requirement for training, equipment, including weapons, ammunition, vehicles, communications equipment aircraft and vessels.

We are working with the Lebanese government and international partners to establish the Lebanese armed forces equipment requirements and to co-ordinate on how best to meet those requirements.

The UK was instrumental in setting up an informal co-ordination group in Beirut, which is working well. We will continue to co-ordinate with the government of Lebanon and international partners on extending the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1701.