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Foreign Minister Maas on the donor conference for Lebanon

09.08.2020 - Press release

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement on 9 August prior to the donor conference for Lebanon:

The people of Beirut need our help and they need reason to hope. More than 150 people have died and over 6000 have been injured while 300,000 have lost their homes. Such numbers are staggering. Today’s conference of Lebanon’s principal partners and supporters sends an important signal – first and foremost for those who have been directly affected by the disaster. We have already seen great solidarity and international support in the past few days. I am very pleased to be able to pledge a further 10 million euro for emergency aid measures on behalf of the Federal Government today.

However, even after the worst of the rubble has been removed, a great deal remains to be done. Lebanon faced overwhelming challenges even before the disaster. Without urgently needed reforms, there can be neither long‑term change nor stability. This is precisely what the Lebanese people are rightly calling for. Individual interests and old lines of conflict must be overcome and the well‑being of the entire population must come first.

Even if destruction and grief currently dominate the picture, the disaster can be an opportunity for a new beginning – not tomorrow, but already today. Only if the government faces up to its responsibility and acts transparently, and if the causes of the explosion are investigated, can the population regain trust. As friends and partners, we must help to lay the foundations for a strong state that offers its citizens democratic rights, freedoms and opportunities for participation – and for a social order that takes into account the wishes and demands of the people.

Background information:

The first international humanitarian aid has already arrived in Beirut. On the very same day that the disaster took place, a Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) team left Germany and is already supporting search and rescue efforts. The German Red Cross has sent an aircraft with relief supplies worth 1.5 million euro from Federal Foreign Office funds. The aid and medicines will be used to support the Lebanese Red Cross. Germany will provide Lebanon with a further 10 million euro for ongoing emergency aid measures in its capacity as the country’s second‑largest bilateral donor. Since 2012, we have provided more than 1.2 billion euro via our development cooperation portfolio and 634 million euro for humanitarian aid measures.

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