In Tripoli, Rampling Inaugurates Renovated Shops, Announces More Funding to NGO


Visiting North of Lebanon for the second time in three months, British Ambassador to Lebanon Chris Rampling met Friday with officials from the Chamber of Commerce, the Tripoli Special Economic Zone, and Adviser to PM for Northern Affairs Abdul Ghani Kabbara, the British embassy said.

Rampling paid condolences to ex-PM Najib Miqati and met with former minister Mohammed Safadi at the Safadi foundation.

During his visit, the Ambassador inaugurated local shops, which had been renovated by young men and women from Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, in Bab al-Dehab, a former demarcation line in the city.

Rampling announced over £800,000 to MARCH NGO for community projects across Beirut and Tripoli that focus on tolerance and peace building. The inauguration, which included speeches from Tripoli officials and testimonials from young people, was attended by Philippe Lazarini -- Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon – parliamentary candidate Dima Jamali, the MPs Nicolas Nahhas and Ali Darwish and ex-MPs Mosbah al-Ahdab and Ahmed Fatfat.

At the end of his visit, Rampling said: “The northern winds beckon and I find myself coming back again to Tripoli – [my second visit in three months]. Renowned for its historic landscapes, the smell of orange trees and the unmistakable flavor of its famous sweets, Tripoli is also an example for coexistence and peace building among its various communities. There is much more to do, but what you have delivered so far inspires us on.”

“My message today, which comes at an important political and economic time for Lebanon, is that our work goes on. Your work to build bridges of peace and understanding, to reduce tension and to turn lives around. Our work in support of you, to help build and transform the security agencies, to provide the opportunity of education for all, strengthen service delivery in municipalities, and provide humanitarian assistance to highly vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian families. This continues. And where we can, it will grow,” he added.

He stated: “While here, I have seen hundreds of (330) war-torn shops and former demarcation lines which have been refurbished with the support of other donors, and which now employ over 250 young men and women. This is what makes Tripoli unique: the young people that come together, breaking down barriers and building new and lasting relationships. You are now Ambassadors for tolerance and hope in your communities. This – and you – are the future. This is why I am so pleased to announce today that we will continue supporting great initiatives such as MARCH. The UK will provide over £800,000 (over$ 1 million) to MARCH for more community projects, just like this one, across Beirut and Tripoli.”

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