Following the explosion that wiped away a portion of Beirut near the port, U.S. Under Secretary David Hale visited Lebanon at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
During his 3-day visit, Hale affirmed America’s commitment to the Lebanese people. The United States has already helped by providing $18 million worth of emergency aid.
In addition to that, Hale announced that the U.S. will also work to provide aid for wheat after the explosion at the port destroyed Lebanon’s grain silos, taking away vital reserves.
We are prepared to work with Congress to pledge up to $30 million in additional funds to enable the flow of grain through the Port of Beirut on an urgent, interim basis.– David Hale
According to Hale, this assistance “will be handled directly by the World Food Program through non-governmental organizations and the private sector.”
While in Lebanon, Hale called for a credible and transparent probe into the events leading to the deadly explosion and announced that the FBI would join the investigation.
During his stay, he spoke with several senior political figures in addition to meeting up with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros El-Rai to discuss current affairs in Lebanon and the region.
“In some ways, this tragic event was just a symptom of much deeper ails in Lebanon,” he said. “I’m talking about the decades of mismanagement, corruption, and the repeated failure of Lebanese leaders to undertake meaningful sustained reforms.”
Hale stressed the dire need for reforms and also called on the Lebanese authorities to take full control of their port and borders.