The international community, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron in the lead, on Wednesday called on, one year to the day after the explosion of the port of Beirut, the Lebanese leaders to act to extricate the country from the worst economic crisis in its history and promised new emergency aid of 370 million dollars for the benefit of the population.
“No aid will ever be enough if Lebanon’s politicians do not commit to doing the hard but necessary work of reforming the economy and fighting corruption,” the US president warned, pledging new aid of nearly 100 million dollars at the third “International Conference in Support of the Lebanese People”.
“The bet of rotting” of the Lebanese political class
His French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who chaired this videoconference, for his part castigated “unjustifiable dysfunctions” of the Lebanese political class. Lebanon has been without government since the explosion, which killed more than 200 people, disfigured part of the capital and traumatized the Lebanese, on August 4, 2020. Lebanese leaders, prisoners of personal interest and patronage, remained until ‘ here deaf to all international pressures to find a political compromise likely to get the country out of the rut.
“They seem to bet on rotting (…)”, launched President Macron, deploring a “historical and moral fault” and once again waving the threat of sanctions. The international community is conditioning the structural aid of more than 11 billion dollars necessary for the economic recovery of the country on the formation of a government and the implementation of reforms.
In the meantime, this new conference has made it possible to obtain an aid commitment of 370 million dollars to cover the immediate needs of the population in the areas of food, education, health and sanitation. water, announced the Élysée in a press release.
International mobilization for Lebanon
France announced for its part “Nearly 100 million euros” of aid over the next 12 months, after 85 million euros in 2020, and the sending of 500,000 doses of anti-covid vaccines. German foreign minister Heiko Maas has pledged 40 million euros, including for Syrian refugees. And the EU a commitment of 5.5 million euros to deal with the covid-19 pandemic.
Aid of 280 million euros had already been gathered during the first two international conferences organized by France, a former mandatory power, in 2020 to meet the most urgent needs. The money goes directly to associations, under the auspices of the United Nations, and not to the Lebanese State to avoid corruption and carelessness, the two recurring evils of the political class in the eyes of the Lebanese.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), for its part, should allocate $ 860 million to Lebanon under special drawing rights (SDRs), said the Director-General of the institution, Kristalina Georgieva, urging the country to use them to advisedly. “There will be no blank check for the benefit of the Lebanese political system,” warned the French president.
Emmanuel Macron castigates Lebanese leaders
France, which has already restricted access to its territory to certain Lebanese officials, said it was ready to go further. “The Lebanese leaders must not doubt for a single second of our determination,” stressed Emmanuel Macron. The European Union is also raising the threat of targeted sanctions at the level of the Twenty-Seven. “We hope that we will not have to get there,” said the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. ” There’s no time to lose. International support depends on it, ”added Heiko Maas.
Lebanon is facing a triple political, economic – one of the worst in the world since 1850, according to the World Bank – and health crisis linked to covid-19. A year after the port tragedy, caused by the explosion of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a dilapidated warehouse, no official has been brought to justice and the investigation is stalled, obstructed by political interventions.
“The Lebanese leaders are accountable for the truth, for transparency, with regard to their population”, insisted Emmanuel Macron. “No one is above the law, whatever their rank”, assured Lebanese President Michel Aoun, pledging that “justice be done”.
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