Pompeo offers help in call to Lebanon PM

AFP , Wednesday 5 Aug 2020

Mike Pompeo
In this file photo taken on March 25, 2020 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC (Photo: AFP)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday offered US assistance after the massive Beirut explosion in a call with Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

Pompeo voiced "our steadfast commitment to assist the Lebanese people as they cope with the aftermath of this terrifying event," a State Department statement said.

He "further stressed our solidarity with and support for the Lebanese people as they strive for the dignity, prosperity and security they deserve."

The statement spoke of a "horrible explosion" and did not describe the cause, despite President Donald Trump's insistence Tuesday that it was an attack.

"It was a bomb of some kind, yes," Trump told reporters, saying he spoke to US generals about the blast.

Lebanese officials have not described the explosions which killed more than 100 people as an attack, with Diab pinning the blame on the storage of a massive amount of explosives in a portside warehouse.

Pompeo did not describe how the United States would help Lebanon, which was already in a deep economic crisis and seeking more than $20 billion in external funding.

The United States has been hesitant about supporting an aid package from the International Monetary Fund, insisting on reforms and the exclusion of Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian militia and political party.

Short link: