French President Emmanuel Macron has told President Donald Trump that US sanctions that have targeted Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah are playing into the hands of those they are meant to weaken, an Elysee official said on Saturday.
The official, speaking ahead of a donors conference on aid to Lebanon co-hosted by France in which Trump will take part, said Macron told Trump in a phone call on Friday that the United States should “reinvest” Lebanon to help rebuild it.
The French official also said there were sufficient elements to believe the blast that ravaged Beirut on Tuesday was accidental.
Watch: French President Emmanuel Macron tells Lebanese crowds in downtown #Beirut that he will pitch a 'new political deal' to #Lebanon's leadership.#BeirutExplosionhttps://t.co/tiKzo9PxE2 pic.twitter.com/HlVGh0YnGT— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 6, 2020
The death toll from Tuesday’s catastrophic explosion at the port of Beirut has risen to 158, the Lebanese health ministry media office said on Saturday.
The number of people injured exceeds 6,000 and 21 are still reported missing, it said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Lebanese protesters flocked to the streets of Beirut on Saturday afternoon to demonstrate against the government's handling of the port explosion on August 4 that killed at least 158 people.