EPA-EFE/Michael Kappeler / POOL style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>German Foreign Minister to visit Beirut, ask for reforms
By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe
epa08466610 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wears a face mask after a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart Di Maio in Berlin, Germany, 05 June 2020. EPA-EFE/Michael Kappeler / POOL
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wears a face mask after a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart Di Maio in Berlin, Germany, 05 June 2020.
Anti-government protests in Beirut
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Beirut on Saturday, asking for accountability, after a massive explosion rocked the capital’s port on Tuesday, leaving almost 200 people dead, thousands injured and dozens still missing, whilst causing extensive damage to the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron was the first EU leader to visit the Middle Eastern country, to pledge his country’s emergency aid and to ask for political reforms. pic.twitter.com/Mmqt3rl3pe
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) August 9, 2020
The demands for political and economic reforms were also echoed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has offered to double its support, provided that Lebanon advances its efforts in undertaking reforms. Germany itself pledged €20 million from humanitarian aid and development cooperation funds. We need to open the door for the people.” On Sunday evening, international donors pledged €250 million in humanitarian assistance for Lebanon, during a donor conference organised by French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations. Ich freue mich sehr, dass ich heute weitere 20 Millionen Euro aus Mitteln der humanitären Hilfe und der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit zusagen kann. Amid growing pressure from protesters seeking political reforms, the Lebanese PM had vowed to hold early elections, however, Diab’s announcement was not enough to satisfy the protesters who accused the government of negligence and corruption. Both the Lebanese PM and President said the explosion was caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for six years without safety measures. On Monday evening, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his cabinet resigned, stating that “We will back down and stand with the people. Die Menschen in #Beirut brauchen unsere Hilfe und sie brauchen Anlass zur Hoffnung. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas is set to visit Beirut on Wednesday, to offer Berlin’s support to the Middle Eastern country that suffered a massive explosion last week, and to discuss the necessary reforms the country needs to undertake. The emergency aid will be “directly delivered to the Lebanese population,” and the country, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, will need to commit to economic and political reforms. “We will make it very clear to those responsible that we are ready to help, but we also believe that this country must be reformed,” Maas told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. On Sunday, videos circulating on the web showed protesters clashing with police forces and facing tear gas, rubber bullets, and birdshot fired from shotguns.