PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has pledged US $30,000.00 for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of war-torn Lebanon.
The funds will be channeled through the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which launched the Lebanon Flash Appeal on Monday July 24, 2006 following a plea by the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Mr. Fuad Siniora for international humanitarian assistance for his country. There was also an appeal from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) for the international community and donor countries to assist and provide humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
Anthony David Edghill
Counselor/Deputy Permanent Representative
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations
Mr. Anthony David Edghill, Counselor/Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, New York, in a statement during the launch of the Lebanon Flash Appeal, expressed the country‘s concern about the escalating violence in Lebanon.
Statement by Edghill
The Trinidad and Tobago delegation wishes to thank Mr. Jan Egland of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the briefing provided earlier Madame Chair, Trinidad and Tobago views with grave concern the escalating hostilities over the past two weeks in the region of the Middle East, resulting in the tragic loss of human life, and particularly in Lebanon where attacks have targeted crucial sectors of the country‘s infrastructure, leading to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians of varying nationalities, and negatively affected the ability of the Lebanese authorities and humanitarian organizations to respond effectively to the growing crisis.
Trinidad and Tobago expresses heartfelt condolences to the families of those that have lost loved ones, and also its continued solidarity with the government and people of Lebanon during this difficult period.
Trinidad and Tobago thus supports the call for, and all efforts aimed at an immediate and comprehensive cessation of hostilities, duly monitored by the United Nations, in order to enable the Government of Lebanon, together with other interested countries and organizations, to institute measures geared towards addressing the immediate humanitarian crisis, and subsequently towards analyzing the circumstances and causes which led to the outbreak of those hostilities, with a view to preventing their recurrence.
Madame Chair, Trinidad and Tobago shares a great affinity with the people of Lebanon.
The Lebanese community, though constituting a small minority of our population, continues to make a sterling contribution, disproportionate to their numbers, to the political, economic, social and cultural life of Trinidad and Tobago.
Lebanese migration to Trinidad and Tobago began as early as the turn of the twentieth century, forming part of a wider migration from that country in search of a better life and religious freedom. On their arrival, the industrious members of this community established incipient retail enterprises and vigorously pursued their efforts to become today, an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago‘s economic life – Omitted in the interest of the time allotted to speakers.
In great part for that reason, Trinidad and Tobago has enjoyed close diplomatic and other relations with Lebanon, having maintained for a period of time, a resident diplomatic presence in Beirut. Families in both countries also still retain their close kinship ties.
Indeed, on the outbreak of hostilities two (2) weeks ago, several Trinidad and Tobago nationals of Lebanese descent found themselves stranded in Beirut, making it necessary to provide consular services to ensure their safe evacuation from the war ravaged sectors of the city.
In the context of the foregoing Madame Chair, Trinidad and Tobago, within the constraints of its limited resources, wishes to make an initial pledge of the sum of thirty thousand United States Dollars (US$ 30,000.) to the Flash Appeal established for the purpose of underwriting the humanitarian assistance provided to the Lebanese people. We further pledge our continuing support for the activities currently being undertaken by friendly countries and international agencies, including the OCHA of the United Nations in this ongoing effort.