At Virtual Summit, World Leaders Pledge $298 Million In Aid To Lebanon

A vehicle passes by the scene of Tuesday's explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut Lebanon Sunday Aug. 9 2020. Public fury over the massive explosion in Beirut took a new turn Saturday night as protesters stormed government institutions and clas

"The President called for calm in Lebanon and acknowledged the legitimate calls of peaceful protesters for transparency, reform and accountability", a White House statement said.

Over 2,500 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate was stored in the waterfront hangar without any safety protocol, and a blast sent a shockwave that killed at least 160 people, wounded almost 6,000 and defaced the coastline of Beirut by destroying hundreds of buildings.

She also apologized to the Lebanese public for "failing" them.

Lebanon's political elite faced pressure from all sides Sunday after a deadly explosion blamed on officials' negligence, with the first cabinet resignation over the affair and re-energized protesters vowing more action.

The huge explosion that hit Beirut's port devastated large parts of the Lebanese capital, claimed over 150 lives and wounded some 6,000 people.

In Beirut, a Lebanese Cabinet minister resigned amid signals that the embattled government may be unraveling in the aftermath of the devastating blast that ripped through the capital on August 4 and raised public anger to new levels.

Local media suggest that more ministers will also resign but the government will wait to see how many personnel depart before potentially announcing its own resignation.

"We live in a corrupt country and we can not live this way anymore".

The French president repeated his call for political and economic reforms, which he said "would allow the worldwide community to act effectively side by side with Lebanon for the reconstruction".

Amid the teleconference participants were President Donald Trump, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and other top officials from China, the European Union and the Gulf Arab countries.

Nearby, mechanic Sabir Jamali sat beside a noose attached to a wooden frame in Martyrs' Square, intended as a symbolic warning to Lebanese leaders to resign or face hanging. One police officer was killed and dozens of people were hurt in confrontations that lasted for hours and where security forces used rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

Furious protesters in Lebanon have threatened further violence after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries.

Abdel Samad also said she resigned "in response to the people's demand for change".

Politics in multi-confessional Lebanon is dominated by former warlords from the 1975-1990 civil war who years ago exchanged their military fatigues for suits, or by their offspring and nephews. Economists have forecast the damage could erase up to 25% of the country's economic output.

It is "a guarantee of impartiality and speed" in the investigation, Foucher tweeted.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Saturday that he would call for early elections.

"Huge swathes of the city have been destroyed, and on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon has already been going through a social, economic, political crisis since October past year".

Under increased pressure from the street and foreign partners exasperated by the leadership's inability to enact reforms, Diab's government is fraying at the edges.



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