INTRODUCTION: A French delegation, led by France's Minister of Finance and Public Works, M. Pierre?
INTRODUCTION: A French delegation, led by France's Minister of Finance and Public Works, M. Pierre Consigny, has begun an investigation into ways of rebuilding the worn-torn Lebanese capital of beirut.
SYNOPSIS: On Thursday (20 January) the delegation held a news conference at the Ministry of Tourism in Beirut. While introducing M. Consigny, Lebanon's Minister of Tourism, M. Mitri Nammar told journalists considerable reconstruction work is necessary, particularly in the city's commercial centre.
M. Consigny told the Journalists of the work the delegation had already done and outlined tentative proposals for the city's reconstruction. He said first priority must be given to public service work and one of the most vital areas is the rebuilding of the port and harbour area. The port was once the main artery to Middle Eastern markets and is vital to the country's economy.
Plans are also being made for the building of a new government administration centre and a new parliament building. It's hoped a new communications building will also be built in the port area. The French delegation is to liase with government officials on rebuilding other towns outside Beirut, where 19 months of civil war caused substantial damage. The possibilities of developing other ports outside Beirut are also being considered.
The task of rebuilding is a formidable one. The Lebanese government has been left with a damage bill of millions of pounds (sterling) for Beirut alone from the war which claimed more than 60,000 lives. About two million have been left homeless and the famous beirut sea front hotels were gutted and severely battered.
As well as the French team, experts have come from the United Kingdom, and the United States to advise the government on the moves to restore beirut to the bustling, financial centre it was before the war.