Safe corridor to be used as humanitarian corridor for flow of humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people.

In spite of the very difficult situation on the ground and the ongoing fighting, Israel is acutely aware of the situation in Lebanon, of the urgent need to facilitate the transport of humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people, as well as the need to enable the essential work of the humanitarian agencies in Lebanon and particularly in the south.

The Government of Israel announced on July 21 that it has created a safe corridor that enabled the maritime evacuation of thousands of foreign residents and tourists from Lebanon to Cyprus. This same corridor will now be used as a humanitarian corridor that will allow the flow of humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people. Tripoli and Beirut will both serve as entry points, while Beirut will be the main hub to facilitate the dispensing of the aid.

A representative of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is currently in Israel to coordinate the relief to Lebanon, and Under- Secretary-General Egeland is expected to arrive in Israel later today or first thing tomorrow morning.

Furthermore, the Israel Defense Forces has created a special coordination center (task force) for humanitarian assistance, which includes representatives of all other relevant governmental agencies including the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It has been agreed that a representative of OCHA will take part in the work of this coordination center.

The Government of Israel has just announced that a coordination procedure between itself and the United Nations has been established in order to manage the transfer of humanitarian aid into southern Lebanon. The procedure is in place and awaits the arrival of aid supplies to Beirut.

As I have stated at the beginning, Israel is aware of the humanitarian situation and will cooperate and coordinate with all relevant humanitarian entities in order to ensure that the people of Lebanon will get the necessary aid.