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Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun on Friday pleaded with world leaders to help his country “claw its way back to recovery” as its economy collapses and political corruption runs rampant.
In his address to the UN assembly in New York, Mr Aoun called for help funding job-creation programmes, rebuilding Beirut’s wrecked port and recovering stolen public funds in a wish list of requests for the international community.
Lebanon is facing an economic meltdown, political uncertainty, soaring levels of poverty and a 90 per cent drop in currency values as it recovers from the chemical explosion that destroyed Beirut port in August of 2020.
“As Lebanon tries to claw its way back to recovery, we count on the whole world to support us in achieving our goals,” Mr Aoun told the annual UN gathering of world leaders.
“We are relying on the international community to fund vital projects, whether in the public or private sector, in order to revive the economic cycle and create new job opportunities.”
Mr Aoun acknowledged that many of Lebanon’s problems were home-grown.
Decades-old economic policies have led to “corruption and waste resulting from bad management and an absence of accountability,” he said.
He said that corrupt officials have “pushed Lebanon into an unprecedented financial and monetary crisis which led to economic stagnation, a stifling livelihood crisis, and growing unemployment, migration and poverty rates”.
Still, the country of about seven million people need help rebuilding after the port blast, investigating those officials who let it happen and repatriating Syrian refugees, he added.