French President Emmanuel Macron left Paris for Lebanon on Thursday, the Elysee Palace said. He will be the first world leader to visit Beirut after the deadly port blast.
Macron’s plane took off just before 06:00 GMT and was scheduled to land in the devastated city at around 09:00 GMT,
The French president is set to meet “all political actors” including Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun, and Prime Minister Hassan Diab to discuss the repercussions of the deadly explosion.
“For the president, it’s a matter of showing that France is there — that is its role — and that he believes in Lebanon,” the presidential palace said.
Macron is scheduled to hold a news conference at 15:30 GMT.
On Wednesday, the French president sent three planes to Beirut loaded with rescuers, medical equipment, and a mobile clinic.
On Tuesday, a huge explosion erupted at Beirut Port with a huge mushroom cloud that Lebanese officials said came from a stockpile of over 2,750 kilograms of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse at the port.
More than 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 injured in the explosion, according to the Lebanese Red Cross. Beirut’s governor said 300,000 people have been left homeless. Damages are estimated at up to $5 billion.
Many Lebanese citizens had caught the expulsion on camera and shared it on social media.
The Lebanese government has declared on Wednesday a state of emergency for two weeks in Beirut in the wake of the devastating explosions rocked the capital.
During Lebanon’s cabinet meeting, an order was issued for putting an unspecified number of Beirut port officials under house arrest pending an investigation into how 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate came to be stored at the port for years.
The move comes amid speculation that negligence was to blame for the explosion.
On his part, Diab said that what happened “a great catastrophe that struck Lebanon,” adding that a quick process of repairing damages and providing urgent aid to help people has been initiated.
The prime minister also called upon “All political forces (Lebanese) to stop the confrontations and focus on addressing the repercussions of the explosion.”
On the other hand, The United Nations (UN) Security Council will hold an emergency meeting next Monday on the massive explosion. The session was requested by the Arab group to discuss the repercussions of this blast.