Christophe Simon / AP
International leaders at Sunday’s virtual summit pledged $ 298 million in aid to help Lebanon overcome the aftermath of a catastrophic blast that killed at least 158 people and devastated large areas large in Beirut.
In his opening speech, French President Emmanuel Macron – co-host of the summit with the UN – said “Lebanon’s future is at stake” and urged the attendees “to support together. Lebanon and its people. “
Among the attendees were officials with about 30 international agencies and countries, including President Trump, who announced participation on Twitter.
Reuters quoted Macron’s office as saying that a sum of about $ 298 million will not be a condition for government reform in Lebanon, but there will be longer-term support. During Sunday’s summit, Macron urged Lebanese leaders to act in the best interests of the country, clearly alluding to indignation towards the country’s ruling class following the explosion. .
“The country’s authorities must act so that the country does not sink in and fulfill the aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people right now, legally on the streets of Beirut,” said Macron. French translation 24.
Unrest in Lebanon has been high since last week’s explosion in the port of Beirut. The anger about the blast has targeted the corruption and negligence of the country’s politicians. A day before the virtual summit, massive rallies drew thousands of people onto the streets of central Beirut, with protesters even erecting a fake gallows to choke off politicians. famous family.
Before the explosion – caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of Beirut – the country experienced a major economic downturn. Lebanon has also struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BBC reported that 15 leaders at the summit issued a joint statement, asserting that the aid must be “delivered directly to the Lebanese people, with the highest efficiency and transparency.”
“Support must be timely, sufficient and relevant to the needs of the Lebanese people,” the statement said.
The European Commission – the governing body of the European Union – has pledged about $ 35 million higher than the promised $ 39 million. The UK also pledged $ 26 million during the summit.
Earlier on Sunday, the US Agency for International Development’s power manager had made it clear that the agency would avoid pledging money through the Lebanese government. John Barsa told reporters on a conference call that $ 15 million would go to US-trusted universities instead.