French President Macron rips into Lebanese political elite after Beirut explosions

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, speaks with a woman as he visits the Gemmayze neighborhood, which suffered extensive damage from an explosion, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron Thursday launched a scathing attack against the Lebanese ruling elite and called for "deep change" from the country's leadership, days after a massive explosion in Beirut killed more than 130 people and injured over 5,000.

Macron visited the site of the Beirut explosions early Thursday before walking through a popular street nearby, where homes were all but destroyed.

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Hundreds of residents were seen on live TV calling for aid to be sent directly to the Lebanese people, not the government. Locals were also heard calling the country's president, Michel Aoun, a "terrorist."

After gathering the heads of Lebanon's main political parties - something Aoun has been unable to do in recent months - Macron took a jab at Prime Minister Hassan Diab before taking questions from reporters.

Diab previously said that France "lacked information" regarding the path of reforms Lebanon had implemented, after France's foreign minister visited Beirut last week.

Asked about these comments, Macron told reporters: "From what I saw today, the people in the streets also do not know anything about these reforms."

Macron said that there was a "need to create a new political order" in Lebanon.

While he was walking through the Gemmayze neighborhood, Macron told frustrated residents that "aid will not go to corrupt hands," in an indirect reference to the political elite.

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Last Update: Thursday, 06 August 2020 KSA 21:05 - GMT 18:05
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