Ten days after the tragedy which left more than 171 dead and 6,500 wounded, the Lebanese authorities, opposed to an international investigation, charged a local judge with the investigation on Friday August 14th. A second French national has been identified among those who died in the double explosion.
Since the explosion which blew through entire districts of Beirut, foreign officials have followed one another, a sign that Lebanon has returned to the center of struggles for influence. The diplomatic ballet continued on Friday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose country backs influential Hezbollah, said aid to Lebanon “Should not be conditional on political change”. “It is for the State and the people of Lebanon to decide the future of Lebanon”added Mr. Zarif, who has met Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
The Lebanese Head of State also received the Minister of the French Armies, Florence Parly, who underlined the need to train “As quickly as possible a government of mission”, charge “For a limited period of time to carry out deep reforms”
The number three in American diplomacy, David Hale, also met President Aoun, as well as former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose name is mentioned in the local media to lead the new government. Mr Hale called for the formation of a government “Which responds to the will of its people and is truly committed to reform”
The American official was to meet with representatives of civil society, which calls for a government that does not come from the traditional political class, to coordinate international aid.
In the devastated port, rescuers continue to find victims of the explosion. International aid is also flowing there, and Florence Parly welcomed the helicopter carrier Thunder, which provides food aid and construction materials.
The investigation in Paris entrusted to investigating judges
Faced with the anger of the street, the government of Hassan Diab resigned Monday. The population accuses the leaders of being responsible, through negligence or corruption, for the explosion of August 4. The tragedy, caused by the presence of a huge amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port, revived the protest movement against the political class launched in the fall of 2019.
His successor is to be appointed by the increasingly maligned head of state, based on consultations with parliamentary blocs representing traditional political parties, who still hope to return to government.
The head of pro-Iranian Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, spoke out on Friday evening in favor of the formation of a government bringing together the traditional parties. Mr. Nasrallah claimed “A strong, capable government that would be politically protected” by parties. He mocked the calls in the streets and by some Christian parties to form a government “Neutral”, claiming that it would be ” a waste of time “ and that he “There are no neutral people in Lebanon”.
Lebanese authorities have appointed Judge Fadi Sawan, whose independence and probity recognized by judicial sources, to investigate the causes of the explosion. But it is not he who will question several ministers about the ammonium nitrate stored at the port: they will have to appear before a special body. David Hale announced Thursday that the US Federal Police (FBI) will join investigators “At the invitation” Lebanese authorities.
In France, the investigation which had been opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office – given the presence of French victims and in particular several dozen injured – was entrusted on Tuesday to two investigating judges from the collective accidents division of the court , announced the Paris prosecutor’s office, confirming information from BFM-TV. The judicial investigation was opened of the counts of “involuntary homicides” and “unintentional injuries”, he specified.
The Lebanese authorities reject an international investigation, demanded by many voices in Lebanon, including the families of the victims who held a press conference on Friday near the scene of the tragedy.
Our articles on the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon