གཟའ་ལྷག་པ། ༢༠༢༤/༠༥/༢༢

Blair Promises to Help Lebanon Rebuild as Lebanese Protest Visit

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says his government will help Lebanon rebuild bridges and train its armed forces following the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Mr. Blair made the pledge Monday in Beirut at a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.

He said Britain will offer Lebanon $75 million in aid this year for reconstruction, and will provide training to Lebanon's military to make sure it controls all of Lebanon's territory.

In central Beirut, more than 2,000 Lebanese protested what they said was Mr. Blair's pro-Israel stance during Israel's recent war against Hezbollah.

Hundreds of Lebanese troops and riot police sealed off a large section of downtown Beirut, preventing the demonstrators from approaching the building where the two leaders were meeting.

Mr. Blair was scheduled to meet Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri, an ally of Hezbollah, but officials said Berri left the country.

Mr. Blair said it is important to see the full implementation of the U.N. Security Council ceasefire resolution 1701 that ended the month-long Israel - Hezbollah war.

During the news conference, a woman in the audience shouted "Blair Shame on You!" Security men quickly carried her out.

In Moscow, meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country will send troops, including engineers and bomb disposal experts, to Lebanon to help in reconstruction efforts.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.