Macron calls for quick help for Beirut and independent investigation

The French President opened the international videoconference in support of Beirut with his words
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun (Der) welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron on his arrival at Beirut International Airport for a visit to express his solidarity with Lebanon after a massive explosion left the city destroyed

PHOTO/DALATIN&NOHRA  -   Lebanon's President Michel Aoun (Der) welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron on his arrival at Beirut International Airport for a visit to express his solidarity with Lebanon after a massive explosion left the city destroyed

French President Emmanuel Macron called on the international community on Sunday to send rapid and effective aid to Lebanon, but stressed to the country's authorities the need for an independent investigation into the explosion at the port of Beirut. 

"This offer of help also includes support for an impartial, credible and independent investigation into the causes of the disaster. It is a strong and legitimate request from the Lebanese people. It is a question of trust. The means are available and must be mobilized," he said. 

However, neither Lebanese President Michel Aoun nor the leader of the pro-Iranian party, Hasan Nasrallah, want foreigners to participate in such an investigation by claiming Lebanon's sovereignty to manage its affairs. 

The French president opened with his words the international video conference in support of Beirut and the Lebanese population, organized together with the United Nations to mobilize and manage the assistance of the international community. 

The President of the United States, Donald Trump; of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro; of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and of the Italian Executive, Giuseppe Conte, as well as Aoun and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, are some of the participants. ​​​​​​​

Macron spoke from the Fort de Brégançon, between Marseille and Saint-Tropez, where he spent an interrupted vacation also on Thursday when he went to Beirut to show France's support after Tuesday's explosion in its port, which caused at least 158 deaths and 6,000 injured. ​​​​​​​

The French president made it clear even then that the aid will not be a "blank cheque" for the Lebanese government, which has also been asked to take strong political initiatives to fight corruption and impose transparency. 

"Our role is to stand by Beirut and the Lebanese people," he added on Sunday, reiterating his demand for reform and urging "everything" to avoid "violence and chaos" because, in his view, "the future of Lebanon and of the whole region is at stake at the moment".