The Lebanese President General Michel Aoun addressed Wednesday the United Nations General Assembly, indicating that Beirut is trying today to rise from its ruins after the port explosion.
“The earthquake-like explosion that hit our capital has left a deep scar on the Lebanese conscience. Indeed, the pictures of the victims, the pain of the injured and the tears of those who lost a dearly beloved will never be wiped away.”
President Aoun said that the blast caused unprecedented material damages and left 300.000 people shelterless, pointing out that the disastrous explosion has caused a sharp increase in poverty rates which were already at 45% before the Beirut blast according to the World Bank, “which estimated the economic loss entailed by the explosion at around 3.5 billion dollars, the material losses at around 4.5 billion dollars and the urgent reconstruction needs at around 2 billion”.
“We have forwarded the blast file to the judicial council, the highest penal judicial body in Lebanon, a judicial investigator has been appointed and is carrying out his probes and procedures. Right after the blast, we asked for international technical assistance in the investigation in view of some countries’ ability to provide us with satellite pictures captured at the moment of the explosion, find out the itinerary and story of the ammonium nitrate loaded vessel from its departure till its arrival to the Beirut Port, analyze the soil, materials and anything that may unveil what happened.”
President Aoun stressed that Lebanon demands an intensification of endeavors for the safe and dignified return of the Syrian refugees amid the successive crises, calling on donor countries to honor their pledges and necessarily find a mechanism that doubles their financial contributions and provides direct assistance to governmental institutions and Lebanese host communities.
President Aoun called on the international community to bind ‘Israel’ to cease its land, sea and air violations of the Lebanese sovereignty and to stop trespassing Lebanon’s airspace and using it to strike the Syrian territories, and to urge it as well to fully cooperate with the UNIFIL to demarcate what remains of the Blue Line, and immediately withdraw from Northern Ghajar, the Shebaa Farms and the Kafashouba Hills.
“Lebanon also underlines its absolute attachment to its full right in its waters, its natural oil and gas resources, as well as his whole maritime borders according to international law. It looks up to the role of the United Nations and the friendly countries to consecrate its rights, specifically the US mediation for the necessary negotiations to definitely delineate the maritime borders according to international law and in a manner that preserves Lebanon’s sovereignty and rights to its resources.”