BEIRUT — During a conference convened by France and the United Nations Wednesday, on the anniversary of the Beirut port explosion, to raise funds for the ongoing recovery efforts in the damaged city, international donors pledged $370 million in aid, the French president’s office announced.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he had pledged 100 million euros (about $118 million) worth of emergency aid on behalf of France, to be granted within 12 months. US President Joe Biden pledged $100 million on the behalf of Washington, and Germany pledged 40 million euros (about $46 million), Macron announced. The European Union offered 5.5 million euros ($6.5 million) to help Lebanon fight COVID-19.
The assistance will be focused on education, food, and agriculture, Macron announced during the opening of the videoconference.
In addition to the $370 million in monetary aid that was pledged, Macron’s office said the donors would provide “substantial in-kind assistance," including 500,000 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 that France will donate as of this month. Macron did not specify which type of vaccine would be given.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun thanked the international community for its support.
“In light of an unprecedented rate of poverty, the pandemic, severe shortages of medication, along with the refugee crisis, Lebanon can no longer wait for an internal solution, and we, indeed, need international aid,” he said.
However, while pledging assistance, the international leaders had harsh words for Lebanon’s political authorities.
“Let me be frank: This crisis is mostly man-made,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement. “Lebanese political actors have not lived up to their responsibilities and to the legitimate expectations of the Lebanese people."
The funding “will be directed to the population,” Macron announced on Wednesday during the start of the conference. "There will be no blank check for the Lebanese political system, because it is they who, since the start of the crisis, are failing to construct a better state."
Along with Aoun, Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati took part in the conference, which was conducted by video and joined by international leaders including Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and European Council President Charles Michel. In total, Macron’s office said representatives of 33 states and 13 international organizations participated.
At a previous conference organized by the French in 2020 in the wake of the Aug. 4 port explosion, international donors pledged a total of 257 million euros in cash and in-kind assistance and, according to France, exceeded their commitments, giving a total of 280 million. France gave 85 million euros in aid to Lebanon last year, Macron said Wednesday.
Macron criticized the failure of Lebanese leaders to form a government or implement reforms and sent another warning that the EU may impose sanctions on political authorities.
"I think it is a historical and moral fault," Macron said. "The crisis in Lebanon is not a fluke, nor a fatality. It is the result of individual and collective bankruptcies and unjustifiable dysfunctions.”
He added, “France is considerate towards the Lebanese people in these tragic times. It is also demanding. With the international community, we have taken our responsibilities. It is the Lebanese leaders’ turn to take theirs. The interests of the Lebanese must come first.”
BEIRUT — During a conference convened by France and the United Nations Wednesday, on the anniversary of the Beirut port explosion, to raise funds for the ongoing recovery efforts in the damaged city, international donors pledged $370 million in aid, the French president’s office announced.French President Emmanuel Macron said he had pledged 100 million euros (about $118 million) worth of...