US Says No Unconditional Assistance to Lebanon
Washington says it will provide no financial assistance to economically ailing Lebanon unless it enacts reforms that end patronage and corruption long enabled by a system of sectarian rule. “America calls on Lebanon’s political leaders to finally respond to the people’s longstanding and legitimate demands and create a credible plan – accepted by the Lebanese people – for good governance, sound economic and financial reform, and an end to the endemic corruption that has stifled Lebanon’s tremendous potential,” US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said as part of a recorded message posted Saturday on the official website of the US Embassy in Beirut. He had arrived in the Lebanese capital on Thursday, a little over a week after a massive blast leveled Beirut’s port and much of the city. The August 4 explosion is being blamed on negligence in the storage at the port of some 2,700 tons of highly volatile ammonium nitrate. “We can never go back to an era in which anything goes at the port or borders of Lebanon,” Hale added.