Politico

EU countries offer support after Beirut blast


Scores were killed and thousands injured by a massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known but Prime Minister Hassan Diab said those responsible would “pay the price” and appeared to suggest that the warehouse at the center of the blast had been “dangerous.”

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability,” he said in a televised speech, local media reported. “Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations.”

The blast was so loud it could be heard in Cyprus, some 240 kilometers away, the BBC reported.

European leaders and senior figures from the EU institutions sent their condolences to the victims and the people of Lebanon.

European Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the people of #Lebanon and with the families of the victims of the tragic #BeirutBlast. The EU stands ready to provide assistance and support.”

Janez Lenarčič, the European commissioner for crisis management, said the EU “stands by the people of #Beirut in these difficult moments” and that the Emergency Response Coordination Centre has activated Copernicus, the bloc’s satellite observation program, to help the Lebanese authorities find out what happened.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter that “France stands alongside Lebanon. Always” and that aid was on its way. According to the Elysée, Macron has spoken to Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

Italian Prime Giuseppe Conte said Italy “will do everything it can” to help, while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the images from Beirut as “shocking” and said the U.K.” is ready to provide support in any way we can.”

A spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “The German government is shaken by the reports and photos [of the explosion]. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. We wish the injured a quick recovery. We will offer Lebanon our support.”

In a separate tweet, the German foreign office said: “Workers from our embassy are also among the injured … Germany stands by Lebanon’s side during this difficult time. We will look into what kind of help we can offer immediately.”

Five of the injured were “colleagues from our embassy,” said Dutch PM Mark Rutte as he offered his “deepest sympathies” to the victims and survivors of this “horrifying disaster.”

Meanwhile, White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah said U.S. President Donald Trump had been briefed on the situation.

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