French president Macron visits Beirut, promises ‘unconditional’ disaster aid

InternationalFrench president Macron visits Beirut, promises ‘unconditional’ disaster aid

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French president Macron visits Beirut, promises ‘unconditional’ disaster aid

Beirut: French President Emmanuel Macron promised “unconditional help” during a visit to Beirut Thursday, two days after explosions that killed at least 137 people and leveled part of the Lebanese capital.

After meeting Lebanese President Michel Aoun upon arrival, Macron told survivors in Beirut’s Gemmayzeh neighborhood that providing help is “the priority.” He also, however, urged government reform in Lebanon and vowed French aid “won’t end up in corrupt hands.”

Macron asked Lebanese leaders to recognize their “historic responsibility” to embrace reforms after the disaster, calling the situation “a political, moral, economic and financial crisis whose first victim is the Lebanese population.”

The explosions Tuesday, which produced a force equivalent to a 3.3-magnitude earthquake, was felt as far away as Cyprus. Authorities believe an initial blast ignited fires that resulted in a substantial blast. They suspect thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate at the site is the cause.

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