France's Macron to host donor conference for blast-stricken Lebanon

Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron will host US President Donald Trump and other political leaders on Sunday for a UN-endorsed video conference to raise emergency relief for Lebanon.

Representatives of Britain, the European Union, China, Russia, Egypt and Jordan are expected to join the conference, hosted by Macron from his summer retreat on the French Riviera.

The French leader had visited Beirut on Thursday, the first world leader to do so after the explosion in Beirut, and promised the Lebanese people humanitarian aid would come but that profound political reform was needed to resolve the country's problems and secure longer term support.

"I guarantee you, this (reconstruction) aid will not go to corrupt hands," Macron told the throngs who greeted him.

Meanwhile, Germany's foreign minister said the country will commit an additional 10 million euros ($11.79 million) in emergency aid on top of the rescue contributions already underway.

Rebuilding Beirut could run into the billions of dollars, with Lebanon already mired in deep political and economic crisis when the blast ripped through its main port on Tuesday, killing 158 people.

Economists forecast the blast could wipe up to 25% off of the country's GDP.

Many Lebanese are angry at the government's response and say the disaster highlighted the negligence of a corrupt political elite. Protesters stormed government ministries in Beirut and trashed the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks on Saturday.

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