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$298 million aid pledge for embattled Lebanon

Reuters, Wam
Filed on August 10, 2020 | Last updated on August 10, 2020 at 06.27 am
$298 million, aid pledge, embattled Lebanon

(Reuters)

Lebanon was already mired in political and financial crisis before the blast.

An emergency donor conference on Sunday for blast-stricken Lebanon raised pledges worth nearly $298 million for immediate humanitarian relief, the French presidency said.

Those commitments would not be conditional on political or institutional reform, President Emmanuel Macron's office said. There were also pledges made for longer-term support that would depend on changes brought in by the authorities, the Elysee Palace said.

World powers promised not to fail the Lebanese people as the capital, Beirut, recovers from the massive explosion that killed 158 people and destroyed swathes of the city last Tuesday. Lebanon was already mired in political and financial crisis before the blast.

Foreign countries demanded transparency over how the aid is used, wary of writing blank cheques to a government viewed by its own people as deeply corrupt. Some are concerned about the influence of Iran through Hezbollah.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, affirmed that the UAE leadership has directed all possible support to the brotherly Lebanese people in the wake of the explosion. Participating in the donor conference, she said 80 tonnes of assistance have been sent over three flights to ensure a swift response reaching those in need.

Macron, who visited Beirut on Thursday, hosted the conference by video-link and in his opening remarks urged participating nations to put aside their differences and support the Lebanese people.

The offer of assistance included support for an impartial, credible and independent inquiry into the blast. Public anger over the explosion has prompted some Lebanese to call for a revolt to topple their political leaders.

"Our role is to be by their side," Macron said from his summer retreat on the French Riviera.

President Donald Trump told the conference the United States was ready to continue providing aid to help the Lebanese, the White House said.

"The President called for calm in Lebanon and acknowledged the legitimate calls of peaceful protesters for transparency, reform and accountability," a White House statement said.

 


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