EU urges for credible Lebanon government

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic called for the urgent formation of a "credible" government in Lebanon before a second phase of financial support for the crisis-hit country can be released, news wires reported. So far the EU had mobilised €64m for the emergency response to a devastating port blast in Beirut on 4 August that killed more than 190 people and wounded thousands.

The next round of funding would be for reconstruction, he said, but warned it would have to go hand in hand with reforms because the international community was not willing to support practices "that led to financial collapse and economic crisis".

The tragedy occurred when hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser that had been left unattended in a port warehouse exploded. It came as the Lebanese people were already reeling from the country's worst economic crisis in decades and rekindled smouldering rage over official neglect and a political class accused of corruption. The government resigned in the wake of the disaster, but Lebanon has rejected an international investigation, saying it would carry out its own probe aided by foreign experts.

"We need a credible government that enjoys the confidence of the Lebanese people and is determined to take the country in the right direction," Lenarcic told AFP after arriving in Lebanon on board a humanitarian aid flight. "Lebanon's political class has to provide what people demand and this is also what the international community expects. I'm talking about governance, not only economic reforms. There has to be a change in the way this place is governed," he added.

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