French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday August 9 called on the international community to “Act quickly” to help Lebanon heal its wounds after the terrible explosion that devastated its capital and he warned against “Violence and chaos” as anger roars in the country over a discredited ruling class.
→ MAINTENANCE. “French aid will go directly to the Lebanese”
From the American Donald Trump to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani, including the Italian and Spanish prime ministers, some fifteen heads of state and government, as well as the leaders of major international organizations (IMF, World Bank, Red Cross ..), were gathered by videoconference around Emmanuel Macron in order to mobilize emergency aid.
“Everyone wants to help”
“We need to act quickly and effectively so that this aid goes very directly and transparently on the ground to the population”, launched the French president, from his summer residence in Brégançon in the south of France, at the opening of the conference.
Three days after the disaster in the capital of Lebanon, the death toll stands at 150 dead and 5,000 wounded, while more than 60 people are still missing in Beirut.
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On Saturday morning, Donald Trump tweeted that the video conference would bring together “President Macron, the rulers of Lebanon and rulers from other places in the world”, after the French president’s visit to Beirut on Thursday. “Everyone wants to help! “ he added, mentioning that he spoke in the morning with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Pope’s call to help Lebanon “generously”
Pope Francis also renewed his call to help “Generously” Lebanon, at the end of its traditional Sunday prayer at Saint-Pierre Square.
Emmanuel Macron insisted on the need to“unit” from the international community, indicating that they expect Turkey and Russia to provide their support, as will Israel, which “Expressed his wish to provide assistance”.
Emmanuel Macron listed four priorities for international emergency aid: health, food for the country – which largely went through the port of Beirut, the rehabilitation of affected schools and the reconstruction of devastated housing.
Paris hammered home that this aid would not be a “blank check” to the Lebanese leaders, hated by the population who denounce their corruption and their negligence when the country is already in a critical economic situation.
“Offer of assistance” for an international investigation
Emmanuel Macron, who called Thursday for an international investigation, since rejected by his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun, reiterated a “Offer of assistance” for “An impartial, credible and independent investigation” on the causes of the disaster.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Friday August 7 that the causes of the explosion in the port of Beirut were linked to ” neglect “ or “To an external intervention, with a missile or a bomb”. The 85-year-old head of state also rejected any international investigation, believing it would only “Dilute the truth”.
This is the first time that a Lebanese official has mentioned an external lead in the case of the explosion. The authorities have so far claimed that it was caused by a fire in a huge depot where 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for 6 years. “Without precautionary measures”, by the Prime Minister’s own admission.
→ ANALYSIS. Emmanuel Macron welcomed as a savior in an angry Lebanon
New demonstrations are expected Sunday the day after a day of mobilization marked by the onslaught of angry protesters against ministries.