French President Emanuel Macron warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to intervene in Lebanon after several government officials resigned following a deadly explosion in the port of Beirut.
The Islamic Republic’s influence in Lebanon is strengthened by its support for the country’s Hezbollah militant group, which Lebanese citizens say is a shadow government controlled by President Michel Aoun, who remains in power.
LEBANONE ACTIVITIES TF BEFORE CAUSING MILITARY IN UN STATE OF EMERGENCY
Speaking to Rouhani on Wednesday, Macron said the region’s top powers should avoid intervening or escalating tensions in Lebanon as it forms a new government, according to Macron̵7;s office.
The French president was the first international leader on earth after the Beirut port bombing that killed at least 220 people and injured 7,000 others on August 4, leaving most of the city devastated. His presence was in stark contrast to the relative absence of Lebanese government officials since the incident.
Macron visited the ruins and promised irritated protesters that aid would not fall into corrupt hands.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his entire cabinet resigned earlier this week as reports surfaced that officials were aware for years of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in the port of Beirut, which caught fire and caused the deadly explosion.
Macron hopes to mediate an agreement between opposing political factions to rebuild the city and restore government, while also coordinating international aid for recovery efforts.
Over the weekend, he chaired a virtual aid conference that won $ 295 million in promises.
Macron also called on Russia and Iran – the main actors in the region – to coordinate aid efforts with the rest of the international community to restore stability.
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Instead, both countries have offered bilateral assistance rather than participating in efforts through the UN Security Council.