August 13, 2020

Risch, Menendez Lead Bipartisan Senate Resolution in Solidarity with People of Lebanon Following Port of Beirut Blast

BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today were joined by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in introducing a Senate resolution regarding the massive explosion in the Port of Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. The bipartisan resolution extends heartfelt condolences to the people of Lebanon on behalf of the U.S. Senate and reiterates support for ongoing U.S. government efforts to provide emergency humanitarian relief in concert with other international partners to those impacted.

“The explosion at the Port of Beirut last week was a devastating tragedy for a country already struggling with economic hardship, mismanagement, and corruption. My deepest condolences are with all those who have been impacted,” said Risch. “Our resolution supports U.S. government efforts to provide emergency humanitarian relief, and encourages the Lebanese government to prioritize policies and programs that advance the interests of the people of Lebanon. The Lebanese people deserve a more stable and prosperous future.”

"We stand with the Lebanese people as they continue to recover from the tragic August 4 explosion that took the lives of so many and has displaced hundreds of thousands, threatened health and food security, and destroyed critical infrastructure,” said Menendez. “During this period of national mourning and trauma in Lebanon, we are sadly reminded that those with political power in Beirut have put their own interests above those of the broader population for far too long. I am proud to be joined by my colleagues in this effort to reaffirm the Senate’s continued support for vital humanitarian relief and meaningful economic and political reforms that will serve the interests of health, wellbeing, stability of the Lebanese people."

“The devastating explosions in Lebanon could not have happened at a worse time for the Lebanese people. Their nation has been embroiled in political turmoil and is in the midst of an economic crisis. The blast exacerbated these existing problems. Now more than ever, it’s critical that the United States stand with the Lebanese people as they fight to recover and rebuild,” said Shaheen. “This resolution reaffirms the U.S. Senate’s commitment to support humanitarian relief and urges necessary and urgent political and economic reform within the Lebanese government. So many innocent lives were lost in this horrific event and many more forever changed by the destruction in Beirut. The time is now for the U.S. to lead in supporting the Lebanese population’s calls for assistance, accountability and action.”

“Following the horrifying explosion in the Port of Beirut earlier this month, I’m proud to join Chairman Risch and Ranking Member Menendez in introducing this bipartisan resolution in support of the Lebanese people,” said Rubio. “The United States stands with the people of Lebanon during this difficult time through U.S. humanitarian assistance and as they seek accountability and meaningful reforms for their country.

“Our hearts are with the people of Lebanon as they continue to recover from this devastating explosion, which killed more than 200, left thousands injured, and displaced many more. And this tragedy comes on top of the difficulties the Lebanese people were facing prior to the explosion, including a global pandemic, economic crisis, and political upheaval.  We in the United States stand with them and offer our support as they work to rebuild,” said Warner.

“Lebanon is a country on the brink of financial ruin with a fragile democracy, susceptible to increasing efforts by Iran and Iranian-backed groups trying to capitalize on the country’s instability to gain influence. Last week’s explosion in Beirut will have long-lasting repercussions for the Lebanese people who were already facing severe economic hardships. My heart aches for them,” said Romney. “The Lebanese government must work with partners in a transparent and impartial manner to investigate the source of the explosion, and must address the political failings that allowed it to happen in the first place.”

“Before the explosion, Lebanon was already in dire crisis with a collapsed economy and growing humanitarian needs. It’s in the United States’ interest to do everything in our power to prevent the situation in Beirut from getting worse. That’s why I stand with my colleagues in the United States Congress to mobilize international support and provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of Lebanon during this incredibly difficult time,” said Murphy.

“I’m proud to join Chairman Risch and Ranking Member Menendez in introducing this bipartisan resolution expressing support for the people of Lebanon in the face of the terrible tragedy earlier this month and the ongoing economic hardships. I applaud the Administration's efforts to provide humanitarian relief to the people of Beirut and the requirement that it be administered through the US Agency for International Development,” said Portman. “It is crucial that the people most affected by this tragedy receive this aid and that it not be diverted to those who would profit from their suffering. I strongly encourage the government of Lebanon to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding this incident and simultaneously work to build a democratic, free and inclusive government that acts in the best interests of the brave Lebanese people.”

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

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