Italy’s Conte calls on Lebanon to rebuild citizens’ trust following explosion

Beirut, Sep 8 (efe-epa).- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged Lebanon to rebuild trust between its people and institutions on Tuesday.

Conte’s visit to Lebanon comes a month after a massive blast ripped through Beirut port, killing at least 191 people and wounding some 6,500 others.

“This is the time to roll up the sleeves and to look to the future, despite the tragedy and the suffering. And to do this, it is necessary to rebuild the citizens’ trust, among citizens and in institutions, to start a new era of national unity,” the premier said in a statement after meeting with Lebanese president Michel Aoun.

Conte also expressed hope that a new government would be formed as soon as possible for it to start working on reconstruction as well as other urgent reforms.

He added the Lebanese authorities should commit to a process of renewal that the Lebanese people have long been asking for.

The August 4 devastating explosion prompted then prime minister Hassan Diab to resign four days later.

Diab was replaced by Mustafa Adib, who was designated to form a new government by Aoun after receiving the backing of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement and its allies as well as the main Sunni-Parliamentary bloc of former premier Saad Hariri.

The explosion took place as Lebanon is mired in its worst economic crisis in decades and has been rocked by nationwide anti-government protests since October.

Conte visited Beirut port and the Italian field hospital as part of the humanitarian operation ‘Cedar Emergency,’ which was launched by Italy a few days after the blast.

He also met with Adib and House Speaker Nabih Berri.

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