Macron in Beirut calls Lebanon for reforms, volunteers to coordinate international support

Photo: EPA French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun (R) at Beirut Airport, 6 August.

Arriving in Lebanon on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for the country's political elite to make swift and urgent reforms, news wires reported. Macron became the first world leader to visit Beirut after the deadly and devastating port blast on Tuesday, that killed over 100 people and left up to 300,000 without homes. It was the latest blow to a country already reeling from an unprecedented economic crisis and political turbulence.

Macron was greeted on the tarmac by Lebanese President Michel Aoun and went to the port to meet Lebanese and French rescue teams in the disaster area.

Speaking shortly after his arrival, Macron said he would organise further French, European and international aid for Lebanon in the coming days. But he also urged the country’s political elite to make urgent reforms. "If reforms are not made, Lebanon will continue to suffer," he said.

Later in the day, Macron is expected to meet PM Hassan Diab and representatives of different political factions and civil society. Two French planes also arrived on Thursday with specialist rescue personnel and equipment.

 

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