After the devastating explosion in Beirut, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wants to travel to the city on Wednesday and also urge reforms in Lebanon. "We will make it very clear to those responsible that we are ready to help, but also of the opinion that this country must be reformed," said the SPD politician on Deutschlandfunk. That is why it was also right that the donors' conference on Sunday decided to link all economic and financial aid to reforms beyond the emergency aid to cope with the explosion.
There is a whole range of measures that urgently need to be implemented, said Maas. This involves fundamental governance reforms, the fight against mismanagement and corruption, but also economic reforms so that Lebanon becomes interesting and legally secure for foreign companies again and investments do not sink into the quagmire.
On the question of a possible change in religious proportionality in Lebanese politics, Maas was cautious. It is not helpful to make recommendations from outside. However, certain mechanisms could no longer be the basis for leading the country sensibly into the future. But that must be decided in Lebanon itself. The population had to regain confidence in the political leadership, otherwise there would be permanent conflicts in Lebanon.
At the international donor conference led by France, aid amounting to 250 million euros was promised on Sunday. France's head of state Emmanuel Macron said at the video switch that everything must be done to prevent violence and chaos. The future of Lebanon will be decided in these hours.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese government is coming under increasing pressure. Two ministers resigned from office on Sunday. Prime Minister Hassan Diab tried to prevent further cabinet members from resigning before a meeting planned for Monday, as the German press agency learned from government circles.
The government of Lebanon is dissolved if more than a third of the 30 cabinet members resign. That would be the case if five other ministers resign. Diab wanted to propose to the cabinet in a meeting this Monday that new elections be held. The next election in the Mediterranean country would actually not be due until 2022.
More than 150 people died and more than 6,000 were injured in the explosion just over a week ago. 300,000 people were left homeless. The detonation occurred because large amounts of ammonium nitrate exploded, which had been stored in the port of the city without further safety precautions. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds demonstrated against the government on Sunday. Some threw stones at the parliament building. The security forces used tear gas.