Aoun pleads with international community not to abandon crisis-hit Lebanon

Beirut, Aug 4 (EFE).- Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun on Wednesday said that Beirut is relying on humanitarian aid as he urged the international community not to abandon the country that is suffering through one of the worst crises in its history.

“Lebanon counts on you, do not let it down,” Aoun said during a virtual international conference on Lebanon on the first anniversary of the devastating explosion in Beirut’s port that left over 200 dead and 6,500 injured and destroyed half of the capital city.

“In my own name and on behalf of the people of Lebanon, I wish to thank brotherly and friendly states and institutions for their solidarity and for the aid” sent over the past year, he added.

“There is no doubt that Lebanon needs every assistance and support from the international community,” Aoun said.

“Restoring, developing, and fully re-operating the port of Beirut, the artery of the Lebanese economy, is a pressing necessity and a top priority for us and any international effort is welcome in this respect,” he continued.

Aoun added that he hopes that Najib Mikati, the prime minister designate, can end the political deadlock and form a government to carry out the necessary reforms in the country nearly a year after Hassan Diab stepped down following the blast.

The Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, criticized the lack of progress made in holding those responsible for the explosion accountable and warned that ongoing political stalemate could have “dire consequences” for Lebanon.

In a speech to the conference, Aboul Gheit said the country “remains regrettably unchanged after one year of this tragedy”.

He also stated that “it is regrettable that almost no progress has been made in revealing the truth and those responsible for perpetrating this crime against the Lebanese people.”

Lebanon, which has been mired in a severe economic crisis since 2019, has been plunged in recent weeks into even more chaos amid shortages of fuel, medicine and electricity, while inflation continues to skyrocket as the local currency’s value against the US dollar plummets.

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