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World Donors Demand Reforms Before Disbursing $300 Million in Humanitarian Aid to Lebanon

August 10, 2020, 05.19 PM

BEIRUT, - Nearly $300 million in emergency humanitarian aid have been pledged to rebuild Lebanon following the Beirut explosion.

However, world leaders and international organizations warned that no money to rebuild the capital will be surrendered until a commitment is made by Lebanese authorities.

World donors want to see Lebanese authorities affirm their stance on political and economic reforms as is demanded by the people in the wake of the deadly twin blasts.

Over 30 participants to the international conference offered help for a “credible and independent” investigation into the August 4 Beirut explosion, another key demand of the Lebanese crowds who took to the streets Saturday and Sunday.

Read also: Protests in Lebanon as Public Anger Over Beirut Explosion Unfolds

In Beirut, two Lebanese Cabinet ministers, including a top aid to the premier, resigned amid signals that the embattled government may be unraveling in the aftermath of the devastating blast that ripped through the capital.

The blast killed 160 and wounded 6,000, raising public anger to new levels.

The resignation of Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad, in which she cited failure to meet the people's aspirations and last week's blast, was followed by a swirl of reports that other ministers were also resigning.

Late Sunday, Environment Minister Demanios Kattar resigned, calling the ruling system “flaccid and sterile".

He stepped down despite closed-door meetings into the evening and a flurry of phone calls between Prime Minister Hassan Diab and several ministers following Abdel-Samad's announcement.

The political haggling had appeared to put off more resignations, and a Cabinet meeting is planned Monday.

If seven of the 20 ministers resign, the Cabinet would effectively have to step down and remain in place as a caretaker government.

Maha Yahya, the director of the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East Center, said the discussions clearly point to backroom deals that seek to put together a new government that's acceptable to domestic and international powers, as well as the angered public.

The current government “really has been a lame duck”, she said, unable to undertake any reform or show independence in a highly divisive political atmosphere.

“Even the ministers are deserting the sinking ship.”


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