France’s Macron visits Beirut, pledges international aid

French President Emmanuel Macron visited shell-shocked Beirut on Thursday, pledging support and urging change after a massive explosion devastated the Lebanese capital, France 24 reports.

Macron is the first foreign head of state to make the trip after two explosions rocked Beirut on Tuesday, killing scores, injuring thousands and inflicting billions of euros in damage.

The French President called for an international investigation into the explosion “to prevent things from remaining hidden and doubt from creeping in”, he said.

An aid conference for Lebanon would be announced in the coming days, he said. France would organise aid along with the European Union and the World Bank and would make sure it was sent directly to relief organisations working on the ground.

An audit of Lebanon’s central bank was also needed – “If there is no audit of the central bank, in a few months there will be no more imports and then there will be a lack of fuel and of food,” Mr Macron said.

France – the former colonial power in Lebanon – has sent three planes carrying rescuers and medical kit to Lebanon, with a fourth arriving later and a French navy helicopter carrier carrying French investigators and further supplies due to arrive next week.

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