French president to host donor conference for blast-stricken Lebanon

French president to host donor conference for blast-stricken Lebanon

Paris (UNA-OIC) – French President Emmanuel Macron will host US President Donald Trump and other political leaders on Sunday for a UN-endorsed donors’ conference by video to raise emergency relief for Lebanon following Tuesday’s massive blast in Beirut.

Lebanon was already mired in a deep political and economic crisis when the explosion ripped through its main port, killing 158 people, injuring more than 6,000 and destroying a swathe of the city.

Rebuilding Beirut could run into the billions of dollars. Economists forecast the blast could wipe up to 25 percent off of the country’s GDP.

Macron visited Beirut on Thursday, the first world leader to do so after the explosion, and promised the Lebanese people humanitarian aid would come but that profound political reform was needed to resolve the country’s problems and secure longer-term support.

“I guarantee you, this (reconstruction) aid will not go to corrupt hands,” Macron told the throngs who greeted him.

There has been an outpouring of sympathy for Lebanon from around the world this week and many countries have sent immediate humanitarian support such as medical supplies, but there has been an absence of aid commitments so far.

President Trump will participate in the video-link conference. “Everyone wants to help!” he tweeted.

Germany will commit an additional 10 million euros ($11.79 million) in emergency aid on top of the rescue contributions already underway, its foreign minister said.

A Macron aide declined on Saturday to set a target for the conference, saying that emergency aid was needed for reconstruction, food aid, medical equipment and schools and hospitals.

Representatives of Britain, the European Union, China, Russia, Egypt and Jordan are expected to join the conference, hosted by Macron from his summer retreat on the French Riviera.

AB/UNA-OIC

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