SAULIEU, France -- An international conference on Lebanon on Wednesday aims to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to meet the country’s humanitarian needs, one year after the massive explosion at Beirut’s port.
France will provide 100 millions euros ($118.6 million) in the coming months, Macron said in his opening remarks.
The event is also meant to mount pressure on Lebanese leaders to form a new government able to implement reforms and start rebuilding the country.
Lebanon is going through the worst economic and financial crisis of its modern history, and a political stalemate that has kept the country without a functioning government for a full year.
Lebanese politicians only made the situation ”worse by placing their individual and political interests above the Lebanese people’s interests," Macron said. Since 2018, they have failed to meet “all deadlines” and “all commitments,” he added.
“Lebanon definitely deserves better," Macron said.
Macron stressed that humanitarian aid promised Wednesday will be unconditional, but he warned that “there will be no blank check to the Lebanese political system because it is defaulting."
Macron, who went to Beirut twice since the explosion at the port, has led international efforts to try to help the former French protectorate by providing emergency aid. Last year's conference on Lebanon, organized in the wake of the explosion, raised about 280 million euros ($332 million).
According to the U.N., over half of Lebanese people now live in poverty, one in three Lebanese suffer from food insecurity and nearly 4 million people are at risk of not accessing safe water.