Germany will present a িয়ন 1 billion proposal to Lebanese authorities next week to rebuild the port of Beirut, two sources told Reuters as part of an effort to persuade the country’s politicians to form a government capable of preventing a financial collapse.
A chemical explosion at the port last August killed at least 200 people in the Lebanese capital, injured thousands and destroyed entire neighborhoods, plunging the country into its worst political and economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.
According to two diplomatic sources familiar with the plans, Germany and France are keen to lead the reconstruction effort. Berlin will outline a proposal in April that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to assist with funding that could clear and restructure the region, they said.
One of the sources estimates that EIB funding is between বিল 2-3 billion ($ 2.4-3..6 billion dollars).
A senior Lebanese official has confirmed that Germany will make a comprehensive proposal to rebuild a port.
Roland Berger, the German foreign ministry or advisory body, said diplomatic sources put the plan together, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. EIB was not immediately available for comment, Reuters reported.
Two diplomatic sources said Lebanon’s political elites needed to agree on a new government first to reform the people’s finances and eradicate corruption, a condition that donors, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), insisted on billions of dollars in aid.
“This plan will not come without connecting the strings,” a source said. “Germany and France want to see a government committed to reform first. There is no other way around it and it is good for Lebanon.
Eight months after the port disaster, many Lebanese families, homes and businesses lost are still waiting for the results of an investigation into the cause of the explosion. As Lebanon’s economy collapses, shoppers are fighting over goods, protesters block roads and shut down businesses.
Foreign donors say the new government must have a strong mandate to implement economic reforms, including a central bank audit and a review of the wasteful power sector.
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and President Michelle Aoun cannot agree on a cabinet lineup. The outgoing cabinet left after the blast remains in caretaker power.
The IMF said there had been no formal talks with Lebanese officials on the nding program, only technical assistance from the finance ministry and some state-owned enterprises.
In addition to the port, Germany’s proposal would plan to renovate more than 100 hectares (247 acres) of projects in the surrounding area, two diplomatic sources said would be structured along the post-war reconstruction line in central Beirut.
Similar to that renewal, the plan involves the creation of a government-listed entity, such as Solidar, which was set up by former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in the 1990s and remains on the Lebanon Stock Exchange.
Sources put the project cost anywhere between 5 5 billion and 15 15 billion and said it could create as many as 50,000 jobs.
The Lebanese official said France and French ports and container shipping group CMA were interested in the CGM restructuring project.
A diplomatic source noted that France sent several missions, including the CMA CGM, in March, expressing interest in playing a role in the restructuring. The mission has focused on clear-up operations rather than extensive renewals, the source said.
The French Foreign Ministry declined to comment immediately and the CMA CGM declined to comment, Reuters reported.
The Lebanese official said the ongoing project would depend on Europeans agreeing on who would lead.
“It’s a European decision at the end of the day, because they have to decide for themselves. Then, when the matter comes up, the Lebanese government can move forward, ”the official said.
Diplomatic sources said Germany wanted to work closely with France on the issue, but Paris was currently taking its own initiative.
“The irony of these is that on the one hand the Europeans are talking about putting pressure on the political class, on the other hand the vultures are still moving while fighting with each other over these possible agreements,” one said.