PARIS, France (North Press) - French President Emmanuel Macron will host U.S. President Donald Trump and other political leaders on Sunday for a U.N.-endorsed donors’ conference by video to raise emergency relief for Lebanon following this week’s massive explosion in Beirut.
The conference, organized on the initiative of France and the United Nations, will begin this afternoon, when the French presidency said it would be "a step of necessity and hope for the country's future." President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US would take part and that videoconference” everyone wants to help".
"We will be having a conference call on Sunday with President Macron, leaders of Lebanon and leaders from various other parts of the world," Mr. Trump said.
Leaders of world supper power Global leaders including US President Donald Trump will participate in an international aid conference on Sunday to support Lebanon, as the country, crippled by corruption, a banking crisis and growing popular defiance against the authorities, is seeking massive relief after blasts in Beirut.
The Elysée Palace stated that Israel “will not attend” the discussions at this conference, but “the United Nations is in contact with it.” And added that Iran did not show a desire to participate but an invitation has been sent to Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,” explaining that no doubt that they will be represented” in the meeting.
European institutions will participate in the conference to mobilize urgent humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
Gulf states, European nations and the US have sent mobile clinics, food and medicine to the country. European Council President Charles Michel was in Beirut on Saturday and promised support.
Promises of relief come as the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah rejected rumors that the militant group had stashed weapons at Beirut’s port before this week’s devastating explosions. The United Nations estimated the value of the needs of the health sector alone at / 85 / million dollars, but the vicinity of the French President did not want to mention any number of the value of the assistance that could be provided on Sunday.
Lebanese authorities said the biggest explosions in Beirut’s history caused an estimated $10 billion to $15 billion worth of damage.
MACRON FIRST TO VISIT LEBANON
Last week, Macron was the first world leader to visit Beirut after the explosion.
He said in a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun that the Cairo-based Arab league was ready to assist an investigation.
He 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.
He stressed that there needed to be a fight against corruption in the country's energy sector and public contracts.
"Unconditional help is the priority" in the wake of the devastating Beirut blast, French President Emmanuel Macron has said but also warned that unless reforms were implemented "Lebanon will continue to sink."
And the Lebanese authorities have a "historic responsibility" in the current crisis. It is a political, moral, economic and financial crisis whose first victim is the Lebanese population," he said.
Officials have blamed the devastating explosion on 2,750 metric tons of poorly stored ammonium nitrate. The massive explosion, which occurred last Tuesday in a warehouse in the Lebanese capital, resulted in at least 158 deaths, six thousand wounded and dozens of missing, in addition to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.
The deadly warehouse blast in Beirut this week devastated Lebanon’s already faltering healthcare system and U.N. agencies are scrambling to support hundreds of thousands of people, officials said on Friday.
In the context of supporting Lebanon, France established an air and sea bridge to transport more than 18 tons of medical aid and about 700 tons of food aid to Beirut after the massive explosion that hit the Lebanese capital, according to the French Foreign Ministry yesterday evening.
In addition to the currently scheduled food aid, "twenty thousand tons of wheat and twenty thousand tons of flour could be transported in the coming days," according to the French Foreign Ministry.
LEBANESE PEOPLE PROTEST
Lebanon has been witnessing a serious economic crisis, represented by an unprecedented decline in the price of its currency, massive inflation, wide layoffs and strict banking restrictions for months.
Many Lebanese are angry at the government’s response and say the disaster highlighted the negligence of a corrupt political elite. Protesters stormed government ministries in Beirut and trashed the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks on Saturday. There is mounting public anger in Lebanon at the political class over revelations that the blast may be linked to government negligence.
Lebanon's Kataeb Party says its three MPs resigning from parliament in wake of Beirut blast Lebanon was already mired in deep political and economic crisis when the blast ripped through its main port on Tuesday, killing 158 people, injuring more than 6,000 and destroying a swathe of the city.
It’s worthy to say that the wife of Dutch envoy to Lebanon was one of the victims after being hurt in Beirut blast
The Lebanese security announced, on Sunday, the killing of one of its members, the wounding of more than 70, and the arrest of 20 people, during the “Saturday of Account” demonstrations, which took place in the center of Beirut, yesterday, Saturday.
Saturday's protests saw the symbolic hanging of senior officials in the squares, attacking Hezbollah's weapons, and demanding accountability for those responsible for the explosion, in addition to storming some of the ministries' headquarters for several hours before leaving them. These events were punctuated by skirmishes and confrontations between the demonstrators and the security forces, which also resulted in the fall of 238 demonstrators, according to a statement by the Lebanese Red Cross.
Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun said on Friday an investigation would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference. “The cause has not been determined yet. There is a possibility of external interference through a rocket or bomb or other act,” Aoun said.
(Reporting by Mohammed Khier; Editing by Hisham Arafat)