Letter to Richard Cooke, Parliamentary
Relations and Devolution Team, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
from the Committee Specialist
In his letter to the Committee dated 23 May
2006, the Minister for the Middle East, Dr Kim Howells, estimated
that it would take 12-15 months to clear south Lebanon of the
unexploded cluster bomblets remaining from the Lebanon war in
When the Committee visited Lebanon in March
of this year, it was told by the United Nations that the target
date to clear south Lebanon from cluster munitions was December
2007. We were told that it was important to meet this deadline
in order to avoid a significant knock-on effect to Lebanon's recovery
from the war. The UN told us that $1.2 million extra would be
required to meet this deadline.
Dr Howells' estimate of May-August 2008 as the
completion date for clearance is at odds with the estimate provided
to the Committee by the UN on the ground. The Committee would
be grateful if the FCO could point out the reasons for this discrepancy.
It would also be useful if the FCO could confirm whether the UN's
target date of December 2007 will now not be met.
As the Committee is in the final stages of its
deliberations in its Global Security: the Middle East inquiry,
it has asked for an urgent response to this letter.
6 July 2007