Aid to Lebanon will come with reforms, donors say

More than 30 participants at the international aid conference for Lebanon have pledged help for a “credible and independent” investigation into the Beirut explosion.

They also said that support for the country’s recovery will need to come with reforms demanded by protesters.

International leaders, government officials and international organisations took part Sunday in the teleconference co-organised by France and the United Nations to send emergency aid to Lebanon.

US President Donald Trump was among the participants.

They issued a joint statement saying: “In these horrendous times, Lebanon is not alone.”

The conference was aimed at mobilising aid from Europe, the US and regional states to provide medicine, care, food, and housing.

The European Commission has pledged an additional €30 million (£27 million) .

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Rescue teams search for missing people near the site of the blast (Hassan Ammar/AP)</figcaption>
Rescue teams search for missing people near the site of the blast (Hassan Ammar/AP)

The Commission said in a statement it came on top of €33 million (£30 million) in emergency aid previously announced.

The new EU funding will be channelled to UN agencies, NGOs and international organisations and be strictly monitored, the statement said.

European Council president Charles Michel called during the conference for an “independent and credible” inquiry into the cause of the explosion and said that the European Union and its member states stood ready to assist.

During the conference Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister also called for a “transparent and independent investigation” into the blast.

The Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account later quoted him as saying the kingdom offered its condolences and had sent 290 tons of aid to Lebanon.

It came as the head of the International Monetary Fund warned Lebanon will not get loans unless it reforms its government.

Kristalina Georgieva said: “Current and future generations of Lebanese must not be saddled with more debts than they can ever repay.”

She said the IMF requires “debt sustainability as a condition for lending” and added that “the financial system must be solvent” as well.