190106 faisal bin farhan
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia has called for a transparent and independent investigation into the Beirut blasts, noting that “the continued destructive hegemony of the terrorist Hezbollah raises our concern.”

Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, said during his participation in the Lebanon donor conference Sunday: “The Kingdom is one of the first countries that provided urgent aid to Lebanon.”

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He stressed that Lebanon is in dire need of comprehensive and urgent political and economic reform to ensure that this terrible disaster will not recur.

Bin Farhan noted that the reform required to ensure Lebanon’s political and economic future depends on strong state institutions that work for the true interest of the Lebanese people.

He stressed that “the continued destructive hegemony of the terrorist organization Hezbollah raises concern to all of us. We all know the proven precedents for this organisation’s use of explosive materials and their storage among civilians in several Arab, European and American countries.”

Bin Farhan renewed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation of France’s call for Lebanon’s friends to “stand together to affirm the strict reform requirements required by the international community to help Beirut get out of this economic and political crisis.”

He pointed out that “Riyadh appreciates Paris’ efforts in mobilising international efforts to respond, provide basic humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people, and help achieve the Lebanese people’s desire to carry out economic reforms.”

Last Tuesday, the Beirut Port blasts destroyed entire neighborhoods, killing 158 people, injuring nearly 6,000 others, displacing nearly 300,000 people, demolishing businesses and overthrowing essential grain supplies.

The cost of rebuilding Beirut is likely to reach billions of dollars, while economists expect the effects of the explosion to swallow up to 25 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Last week witnessed sweeping sympathy with Lebanon from around the world, and several countries sent immediate humanitarian support, including medical supplies, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The donors ’conference in support of Lebanon, which was launched by default, has raised about 170 million dollars so far, before the United States announced its contribution.

The sums raised by the conference included $11.8 million from Germany, $23.6 million from Britain and $74 million from the European Commission.

The United Nations has estimated the value of the health needs that should be provided to Lebanon immediately at $85 million.

The conference is organised at the initiative of France and the United Nations.

During his speech at the conference, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the need to move quickly and effectively “because the future of Lebanon is at stake.”

Macron said that his country is doing its best “to avoid chaos in Lebanon, because it does not serve the situation.”

In turn, the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, said that he committed himself before the Lebanese to achieving justice, and affirmed that “no one is above the roof of the law, and that whoever is proven involved in the Beirut port bombing will be held accountable in accordance with Lebanese laws.”

The unprecedented explosion in Lebanon caused a big rift within the Lebanese political elite, in a country that has been suffering for months from a severe economic crisis that has brought it to the brink of bankruptcy, preceded by a long and deeper crisis than the absence of a government, interspersed with widespread popular protests.

The incident also triggered waves of anger in the Lebanese street, which holds the political elite fully responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Lebanon in various sectors, which developed into clashes with the security forces that led to casualties, while observers believe that Hezbollah’s incursion into Lebanon by force of arms and political pressure exacerbated the crisis to a large extent.