NNA - President Michel Aoun received the French Armed Forces Minister, Mrs. Florence Parly, accompanied by the French Ambassador in Lebanon, Bruno Foucher and a military and diplomatic delegation.
Minister Parly conveyed to President Aoun a message from French President, Emmanuel Macron, confirming that France stands by the Lebanese in the tragedy that befell them. Parly stated that her country has provided a lot of assistance and will provide more, especially equipment that helps in clearing rubble, completing relief work and surveying damages. About 750 French soldiers will arrive today and participate in these missions. The French Minister indicated that French experts will assist in ongoing investigations to uncover the circumstance of the explosion crime, in conjunction with sending food and construction material to be transported by a French ship arriving in Beirut within the next few days.
“You can rely on France, whose President said, while visiting Beirut, that he puts all capabilities at Lebanese disposal. French private institutions and companies have also contributed to providing in-kind assistance that will arrive in turn at the Beirut Port and the airport” Parly added.
Minister Parly also hoped that the new Government would be quickly formed to proceed with reforms that the international community deems necessary, pointing out that President Macron will return to Lebanon on the 1st of September to follow-up the contacts he had started with Lebanese officials and leaders and to see the development of the process of repairing damage in devastated areas. She concluded by noting the role of the Lebanese Army in relief operations, removing rubble, receiving and distributing aid with remarkable organization.
For his side, President Aoun thanked Minister Parly for her visit, stressing the depth of Lebanese-French relations, noting in particular the support that President Macron offered to Lebanon, whether during his visit to Beirut of through his invitation to Paris conference to support Lebanon and the Lebanese.
The President said that investigations are continuous to clarify the circumstances of the crime which occurred in parallel with work to survey the damage, plan to rebuild the damaged homes and provide food. President Aoun also affirmed his determination to proceed with reforms that will begin immediately after the formation of the new Government, and that a great effort will be made in this regard to remove all obstacles that arise in such circumstances. In addition, President Aoun stressed the continuation of combatting corruption in the country, because this process is essential to stop waste, bribes and chaos in the Lebanese administrations and institutions, considering that all official institutions are recruiting to remove the effects of the bombing and to provide aid, housing and relief to those affected.
The President concluded by noting the role the army plays at various levels of security, relief and aid distribution.
“I just met with His Excellency, the President of the Republic, a few days after President Macron’s visit to Beirut, for hours after the explosion. France is in fact on the Lebanese side, as always, and today even more. As ever, as a result of this disaster, which claimed the lives of many martyrs and left a number of wounded, and a large portion of the population victimized by panic. From the early hours, President Macron provided assistance to the Lebanese, as an air bridge was established between France and Lebanon for this purpose. I will, in a few moments, be at the Beirut Port to receive the helicopter carrier “Tonnere”, which will constitute additional evidence of France’s commitment to stand by Lebanon and the Lebanese.
The President of the Lebanese Republic asked me to convey his warmest thanks to President Macron for his firm support for the benefit of Lebanon and the Lebanese”.
On the Lebanese side, former Minister, Salim Jreisatti, Director General of the Presidency, Dr. Antoine Choucair, and advisors: Brigadier General, Paul Matar, Rafic Chelala, and Osama Khachab, attended the meeting.—Presidency Press Office