UN help sought for funding Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The popular Sunni businessman-turned-politician’s death soon led to a wave of protests – the “Cedar Revolution” – that ultimately forced Syria to wind up its long-standing military presence in Lebanon…reports Asian Lite News

The Caretaker Prime Minister of Lebanon Hassan Diab asked the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to urgently explore ways of financing the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) following funding issues.

According to media reports, the prime minister, in a letter to UN chief, wrote: “The Government of Lebanon would be grateful to Your Excellency for urgently exploring different and alternative means of financing the Tribunal with the Security Council and Member States.”

In an exclusive report, Reuters last week revealed that the UN tribunal, set up to prosecute those behind the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri had run out of funding amid Lebanon’s economic and political crisis, threatening plans for future trials.

The popular Sunni businessman-turned-politician’s death soon led to a wave of protests – the “Cedar Revolution” – that ultimately forced Syria to wind up its long-standing military presence in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, in yet another development, World Bank Group Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, Ferid Belhaj, said the global lender is ready to contribute towards the reconstruction of Beirut following the widespread destruction caused by the 2020 twin explosions.

“The World Bank is fully prepared to engage in any reconstruction project,” Xinhua news agency quoted Belhaj as saying on Thursday.

Two huge explosions ripped through the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, killing about 200 people, injuring at least 6,000 others and leaving 300,000 homeless.

A big part of the Lebanese capital was destroyed in the disaster.

Investigations pointed to the roughly 500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left at the port as the cause of the explosions.

Belhaj’s announcement on Thursday came following his meeting with caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan over the World Bank’s contributions in the fight against Covid-19 in Lebanon.

Belhaj noted that the World Bank will offer any support needed for Lebanon and the government.

Meanwhile, Hassan said the loans offered by the World Bank give a glimmer of hope for the Lebanon and the people.

Earlier this year, the World Bank had allocated $34 million under the existing Lebanon Health Resilience Project to support the Covid-19 vaccination in the country.

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