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UN asks Israel to pay Lebanon $856 million for oil spill

AFP , Saturday 20 Dec 2014
oil spill
File Photo: Workers from Byblos town council clean up an oil spill at the harbour of the ancient Phoenician city in central Lebanon on Aug. 20, 2006 (Photo: Reuters)
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Israel was asked by the UN General Assembly on Friday to compensate Lebanon for $856.4 million in oil spill damages it caused during its 2006 war with Hezbollah.

The non-binding vote, which passed 170-6, asks Israel to offer "prompt and adequate compensation" to Lebanon and other countries affected by the oil spill's pollution.

In a statement, Israel condemned the resolution as biased against the nation, Israeli media reported.

The oil spill was caused by Israel's air force when it bombed oil tanks near a coastal Lebanese power plant during the month-long war with Hezbollah fighters.

The attack flooded the Mediterranean coastline with 15,000 tons of oil, according to the United Nations.

The adopted resolution cited $856.4 million (700 million euros) in damages caused by the oil spill, accounting for inflation of October 2007 estimate by the United Nations Secretary General that reported the spill caused $729 million in damage.

Lebanon bore the brunt of the spill, but the Syrian coast and other Mediterranean countries have suffered as well, the UN said.

The oil slick made by the spill "has had serious implications for livelihoods and the economy of Lebanon," the resolution said.

The UN asked Lebanon to continue clean-up efforts and the international community to increase funding for its environmental restoration.

The US, Australia, Canada and Israel were among the six states that voted against the UN text.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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