French President Emmanuel Macron plans to return to Beirut on Sept. 1 to follow up on the reconstruction efforts after the catastrophic blast which destroyed parts of Beirut last week, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said Friday.
Parly, speaking after a tour of the French helicopter-carrier Tonnerre which arrived earlier in the day in the devastated port of Beirut, also called on the Lebanese to form a government capable of taking "courageous decisions."
She described the ship as a "floating city" which can provide all kind of medical and technical support, including a hospital, search and rescue equipment, construction materials and also transporting a shipment of flour.
The government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, which has the backing of the Iran-aligned Hezbollah, resigned in the wake of the explosion.
Macron was the first foreign official to visit the stricken capital, landing in Beirut two days after the blast that the Lebanese people widely blame on the authorities’ negligence of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that was left abandoned at the port for some six years.
During his visit, he urged the authorities to form a national unity government and implement much-needed reform to save the Lebanese economy which was already in freefall before the August 4 blast.