French President Emmanuel Macron announced from Beirut yesterday that he would propose to Lebanese officials a "new political charter" for "regime change", and said that Lebanon, which is in crisis, "will continue to drown" unless its leaders implement reforms, and that he wants to inform some political figures of "Painful facts about the internal situation", shortly after his arrival in Lebanon on a visit to support after the huge explosion that destroyed large parts of the capital, killing and wounding thousands, and who demanded an international investigation about it.
Tuesday's explosion killed at least 137 people, including a German diplomat, and injured 5,000 others, according to a toll that is still temporary, as dozens are still missing, while hundreds of thousands suddenly became homeless as a result of the explosion.
Macron made the remarks on Gemayzeh Street in east Beirut, severely affected by the explosion, which the French President visited on foot. A group of Lebanese gathered around him chanting "The people want to topple the regime", then "Revolution Revolution" helped us.
The French President replied, "I am here to launch a new political initiative, and this is what I will express in the afternoon to Lebanese officials and political forces," pointing to the necessity of starting "reforms, changing the system, stopping division, and fighting corruption." Then he said, "I'll be back on September 1st."
In response to a request by some gatherers not to deliver aid to the government, Macron said, "I assure you that this assistance will be transparent, and will go to the ground, and we will ensure that it does not go into the hands of corruption."
Macron said upon his arrival at Beirut airport that "the priority today is to help and support the people without conditions, but there is a demand that France has made for months and years about necessary reforms in several sectors", noting in particular to the electricity sector, which is the worst among the infrastructure facilities basically worn out, The state treasury has incurred more than $ 40 billion since the end of the civil war (1975-1990).
He added that he wishes to have a "sincere dialogue" with Lebanese officials, because, aside from the explosion, we know that the crisis is dangerous, and involves a historical responsibility of the officials, following "if the reforms are not implemented, Lebanon will continue to drown."
The international community and the International Monetary Fund are calling on Lebanon for necessary reforms, as a condition to support it to get out of the economic collapse that has been witnessing it for nearly a year.
On the other hand, Macron announced that he wanted to "organize international aid" after the huge explosion that turned the Lebanese capital into a disaster-stricken city.
Several countries, including France, sent relief teams and equipment to deal with the emergency after the explosion that destroyed the port and a large part of the capital, and caused severe damage in areas relatively far from Beirut.
The European Union announced yesterday that it will provide 33 million euros to finance initial emergency assistance to Lebanon, including an Italian hospital ship, to assist in relief efforts in Beirut.
A European source said a donors' conference was scheduled to raise additional funding for reconstruction after the needs assessment.
The explosion was caused by a fire that broke out in a warehouse in which six years ago about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were stored "without any preventive measures," according to the authorities.
It came in the midst of an unprecedented stifling economic crisis that Lebanon is suffering from, and amid a popular curse over the entire political class that accuses officials of incompetence, corruption and failure. Lebanese President Michel Aoun received his French counterpart at the Rafic Hariri International Airport.
After his field trip, Macron held three meetings with Aoun, Prime Minister Hassan Diab, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at the Republican Palace in Baabda, near Beirut. He met with representatives of political parties and civil society.
On his departure from the Baabda Palace, he expressed his hope that "investigations will be conducted as soon as possible in a completely independent and transparent framework, so that it is possible to know what happened and the causes of the explosion."
He said that he sensed "the presence of anger in the street," noting that he had spoken with Aoun, Berri and Diab on the subject of "the ongoing political, moral, economic and financial crisis for many years."
Macron was inspecting the site of the explosion, where an officer from the French rescue team who was helping Lebanese teams search for survivors told him that there was still hope for finding survivors.
"We believe that there is still hope for finding survivors," said Colonel Vincenn Tessier, noting that search is continuing for seven or eight missing individuals, who are supposed to be stuck in a hall destroyed by the explosion.
Yesterday, a burial ceremony was held for several victims of the blast.
Meanwhile, Beirut residents and a large number of volunteer young men and women continue to clean the streets of the capital in the absence of state agencies. They collect scattered glass pieces everywhere, make repairs to make some apartments habitable, and many are active to provide basic food and assistance.
The Governor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud, said yesterday to France Press that there are between 250 and 300,000 people who went without homes, because their homes have become uninhabitable, indicating that "about half of Beirut was damaged or destroyed."
This is the largest explosion in the history of Lebanon, which witnessed decades of turmoil, wars, bombings and crises.
Yesterday, in an interview with Radio Europe 1, the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Charbel Wahba, said that an investigation committee had been established "that should submit a report within four days on the responsibilities", adding that "there will be judicial decisions."
The World Bank is ready to mobilize financing for Lebanon
The World Bank Group said yesterday that it is ready to conduct an assessment of the damages and needs of Lebanon after the explosion that destroyed the port of Beirut, and to work with Lebanon's partners to mobilize public and private funding for reconstruction and recovery.
"The World Bank will also be prepared to reprogram existing resources and to explore additional funding to support the reconstruction of life and livelihoods for people affected by this disaster," the World Bank said in a statement. Washington - Reuters
Europe promises 33 million euros in emergency aid to Lebanon
European Commission President Urzula von der Line promised to provide 33 million euros ($ 39 million) in emergency assistance to Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, during a phone call yesterday between them, against the backdrop of the massive explosion that occurred in Beirut on Tuesday, and left the ruin in the city .
The amount is to be used to finance the purchase of medical equipment, among other things.
"The commission will consider providing further support based on the ongoing assessment of humanitarian needs," the commission said in a press release.
Von der Line also offered "European Union support for a full needs assessment in order to rebuild the city and revive the country." Brussels - d
- This explosion is considered the largest in the history of Lebanon, which witnessed decades of turmoil, wars, bombings and crises.