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    King at Lebanon support conference: Levant breadbasket facing acute food crisis

    December 3, 2020
    finance & economy

    Event aims to mobilise further financial, humanitarian aid for Lebanese people

    AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday participated in the International Conference in Support of the Lebanese People, held via teleconference, and co-chaired by France President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

    Held with the participation of leaders and representatives of Arab and foreign countries, as well as global financial institutions, international organisations, and representatives of business and civil society, the conference is the second to convene this year in support of Lebanon, building on the outcomes of the first meeting in August, which King Abdullah attended, following the Beirut Port blast, according to a Royal Court statement.

    His Majesty delivered remarks at the conference; following is the full text:

    “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,Monsieur le President,

    Mr Secretary General,

    My dear friends,

    Allow me to start by thanking President Macron and the Secretary General for their continued dedication to supporting the Lebanese people during such difficult times.

    It is out of Jordan’s sense of duty and compassion towards our Lebanese brothers and sisters, that I join you today, to see how we can best support the steadfast people of Lebanon.

    The tragic port explosion, which killed more than 200 people, injured over 6,000 others, and destroyed 300,000 residences in Beirut, dealt a blow to our shared humanity.

    The bereaved families are always in our thoughts, and we pray for the souls of those who perished on that terrible day.

    Jordan was ready to contribute to the rescue effort in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, dispatching a field hospital and a dedicated team of doctors. And we are here today, with other friends, to say to the Lebanese people: You are not alone.

    Four months after our first meeting, the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon continues, compounded by severe economic problems and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is pushing the population to the brink of survival, with more than half of them now falling below the poverty line.

    Tragically, the breadbasket of the Levant now finds itself before an acute food crisis the likes of which it has not witnessed in over a century.

    There are real concerns, not only about the shortage of food, but also about the scarcity of the raw materials needed to produce essential local goods.

    Jordan cannot stand by and leave a close neighbour facing this dire situation alone.

    This is why we were keen to be part of today’s effort, and we are also exploring all possible avenues to help the Lebanese people, by facilitating trade and offering business relief strategies, that could alleviate some of the economic hardships they face.

    We must all do what we can to explore any means of offering assistance — be it humanitarian, economic, or diplomatic.

    The people of Lebanon have always been there for neighbours and friends in times of need. It is now up to us, their neighbours and friends, to return the favour, and help Lebanon find its way back to recovery and prosperity.

    With the support of each one of us, I am confident that the resilient people of Lebanon will defy the odds once more, and overcome this ordeal.

    I look forward to a productive and generous conference.

    The conference aims to mobilise further international support and financial and humanitarian aid for the Lebanese people, to pave the way towards recovery.

    Participants examined ways to facilitate international aid, and discussed the reconstruction of the Beirut Port, in addition to restoring areas that were partially or fully destroyed by the blast.

    jordantimes

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