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Macron Says Ready to Host Lebanon Aid Conference in October
French President Emmanuel Macron hugs a blast victim while attending a ceremony, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (R), to mark Lebanon's centenary in Jaj Cedars Reserve Forest, northeast of the capital Beirut, on Sept. 1, 2020. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Macron Says Ready to Host Lebanon Aid Conference in October

French President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to Beirut, said Tuesday he was ready to host a second aid conference for blast-hit Lebanon next month. “I am ready for us to organize, maybe around mid- or late October, another international support conference with the United Nations,” he said after meeting UN representatives and local aid groups in the Lebanese capital. Macron’s visit is his second since the August 4 ammonium nitrate explosion ripped through Beirut, killing at least 190 people and wounding more than 6,500. The explosion also caused up to $4.6 billion worth of damage and a blow to economic activity of up to $3.5 billion, according to a World Bank estimate. The blast pounded a country already reeling from its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war, with a UN agency warning on Sunday that a food shortage could affect more than half of the population by the end of the year. On August 9, the international community pledged €252.7 million (around $302.8 million) in emergency aid at a videoconference jointly organized by France and the UN. “We have to focus in the next six weeks on the emergency,” Macron said on Tuesday of the port blast. He said work going forward would be “under very firm coordination with the United Nations, so we can again ask for support from all the different states.”

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