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Driven by France, the world unites to help Lebanon

A year after the day after the Beirut port explosion, the world is at the head of Lebanon on Wednesday. Organized by France and the United Nations, an international conference aims in particular to gather emergency aid of at least $ 350 million, the French presidency said on Monday.

“It is about coming back to the aid of the Lebanese people”, after raising 280 million euros during a first international conference in August 2020, shortly after the explosion that killed more than 200 people, stressed the Elysee. Indeed, it is necessary to respond, according to the presidency, to the new needs “in the fields in particular of food, education, health, water purification.”

The conference will bring together by videoconference, under the auspices of President Emmanuel Macron and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, representatives of some forty states and international organizations, including US President Joe Biden, who will speak through a video, the Egyptian Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. , King Abdullah II of Jordan and the Lebanese Head of State Michel Aoun. Also present will be the Prime Ministers of Iraq, Greece, the Director of the IMF, the President of the European Council Charles Michel, as well as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia and Finland. . as do the representatives of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This third international conference, after those of August 9 and December 2, 2020, focuses only on emergency aid and not on the structural aid that the country needs but which is conditional on the formation of a government capable of initiate fundamental reforms. Lebanon has been without a government since the resignation of Hassan Diab and his team on August 10, 2020. The new prime minister-designate, Najib Mikati, announced on Monday that a government would not see the light before the commemoration of the port explosion. from Beirut on August 4, political negotiation once again obstructed his task.

For the Elysee, this conference will be “once again the occasion to send a very clear political message: despite the commitment of the various Lebanese political leaders, Lebanon still does not have a government.” Therefore, the participants “will reaffirm the need to form a government quickly capable of implementing the structural reforms expected by the Lebanese population and the international community and that allows to provide support that goes beyond the emergency.” But, despite threats of sanctions from the European Union, warnings and accusations of “organized obstruction” in recent months, Lebanese leaders have not moved one iota, continuing their negotiation.

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