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French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday hosts US President Donald Trump and other representatives for a UN-backed virtual conference to drum up aid for Lebanon after the devastating Beirut port blast.
Macron on Thursday became the first world leader to visit Beirut after Tuesday's explosion and warned Lebanese leaders that while international aid would be forthcoming deep change was needed to resolve the country's problems.
The blast at the Beirut port, blamed on a vast store of ammonium nitrate that was allowed to rot for years in a warehouse, destroyed entire neighbourhoods.
It has amplified the anger of many Lebanese against a ruling class allegedly mired in corruption and cronyism.
Macron will be hoping that pledges made at the video summit, which begins at 1200 GMT, will be translated into concrete donations and the funds spent transparently and for the right purpose.
Speaking in Beirut after his visit on Thursday, Macron said that the conference aimed to mobilise funding from Europe, the US and regional states to provide medicine, care, food, and housing.
"We will also put in place clear and transparent governance so that all of this aid — whether it is French aid or international — is directly chanelled to the people, to NGOs, to the teams in the field who need it, without any possible opacity or diversion," he said.
He said that the need for profound change meant "it is the time of responsibility for Lebanon today and its leaders" who required "a new pact with the Lebanese people in the coming weeks."
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Saturday that he would call for early elections.
'Not a blank cheque'
Trump, confirming his attendance at the conference, tweeted that "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. Everyone wants to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2020
A French presidential source, who asked not to be named, said that the EU, Britain, China, Russia, Jordan and Egypt would all be represRead More – Source