Selin ATAY-TDO- The United States will continue to provide humanitarian support for the Lebanese people affected by a deadly and devastating explosion at the port of Beirut in early August, but will not underwrite the current government until real reforms take place, a top State Department official said.
David Hale, the under secretary for political affairs, spoke frankly about Lebanese government corruption and incompetence in a briefing with reporters following a recent trip to the Beirut.
While the U.S. remains committed to addressing the immediate humanitarian crisis, it will not provide a bailout for the Lebanese government, David Hale said to reporters.
The United States has so far provided $18 million in emergency assistance for Beirut.
“We will not be providing that kind of long-term assistance until we see a government that's actually capable of reform and change,” Hale added.
David Hale criticized the government by saying that Lebanon’s leaders “have been ignoring their responsibility to meet the needs of the people and have resisted the kind of deep, fundamental reforms that are needed.”
Hale continued that “we can't fix that from the outside. Lebanese leaders have to demonstrate the political will and commitment to that and that was my main message.”
He mentioned about some political leaders who acknowledged the need for governmental reform, but he also said other leaders were in complete denial.
“Others I found to be in denial and trying to paper this over and ride out the moment in the hopes that the public will lose interest and, either don't understand the magnitude of the problem or are unwilling to cope with it.” Hale said.