Wednesday is the anniversary of the explosion in the port of Beirut, which caused massive damage. During a donor videoconference for Lebanon, French President Emmanuel Macron accused the country’s authorities of “historic and moral decline”.
Emmanuel Macron, who is the main initiator of the aid program for Lebanon, said the country’s political class was to blame for its dramatic economic situation and was “stalling” to explain the causes of the outbreak on August 4, 2020. In the explosion in the Beirut port, 214 people were killed and over 6,500 injured.
“ Lebanese leaders seem to be betting on a drag-off strategy, which I regret and think is a historic and moral failure, ” Macron said in his keynote speech as host of an international donor conference that aims to raise at least $ 350 million for Lebanon, she said. Reuters agency.
The French president, who visited Beirut twice after the outbreak, assessed that Lebanese politicians were unable to lift the country from the collapse into which it was plunged by the economic crisis, combined with the effects of the tragedy last year.
– The crisis that Lebanon is experiencing is not a blow to blind fate, nor its fatal arrangement. It is a derivative of individual and collective (politicians) failures and an unforgivable dysfunction (of the system), said Macron, who urged about 40 countries to participate in the conference for Lebanon.
The president assured that France is willing to help in explaining the causes of the explosion, which is what “the Lebanese people expect”.
US President Joe Biden is also to take part in the conference, co-organized by the United Nations.
Sanctions against Lebanese politicians
France, the main country seeking aid to its former colony, recently imposed visa sanctions on some Lebanese politicians because in Beirut, despite the urgent situation, it failed to explain the causes of the explosion or form a responsible government.
At the end of July, Lebanese President Michel Aoun entrusted the mission of forming a government to businessman and billionaire Najib Mikati. The politician has been the prime minister of Lebanon twice.
Last year, after the outbreak in Beirut, $ 280 million was raised for Lebanon during a similar donor conference. Macron announced that after Wednesday’s summit, the funds raised would be transferred to Beirut unconditionally, but the $ 11bn allocated to him in 2018 will remain frozen until a series of necessary reforms are carried out in Lebanon.
After the outbreak, the World Food Program (WFP) was forced to help Lebanon to prevent food shortages, and as the homes of hundreds of thousands of people were destroyed, the UN refugee agency UNHCR provided supplies of tents, blankets and mattresses.
Accusation of a criminal omission
The Lebanese authorities claim that the cause of the explosion was a fire of hazardous chemicals stored in the port. On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Lebanese authorities of criminal omissions, violating the right to life and blocking a local investigation into the explosion.
In a 126-page report, HRW documented numerous failings by the Lebanese authorities with regard to the safety and management of hazardous chemicals from their arrival at the port until their explosion. Dozens of government officials, customs and security officials who, according to HRW, were aware of the risks were identified.
Main photo source: CHRISTOPHE SIMON / PAP / EPA