Lebanon’s leaders have failed to form a government to implement reforms after the devastating explosion in Beirut’s port on Aug. 4. The blast killed nearly 200 people, injured 600 others, and caused more than $4 billion in damage.
Hassan Diab, who resigned as prime minister in the wake of the blast, said in a speech to ambassadors in Beirut on July 7 that “Lebanon is a few days away from social explosion.”
“The Lebanese are facing this dark fate alone,” he said.
Pope Francis hosted a day of prayer for Lebanon on July 1 which brought Catholic and Orthodox leaders to the Vatican to discuss the crisis facing the country.
“We assembled today to pray and reflect, impelled by our deep concern for Lebanon -- a country very close to my heart and which I wish to visit -- as we see it plunged into a serious crisis,” the pope said.
“In these woeful times, we want to affirm with all our strength that Lebanon is, and must remain, a project of peace. Its vocation is to be a land of tolerance and pluralism, an oasis of fraternity where different religions and confessions meet, where different communities live together, putting the common good before their individual interests,” Pope Francis said.
The Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States confirmed on July 7 that the pope has “made a commitment to visit Lebanon.”
“He has also said that he will visit Lebanon when there is a government. So that’s a great stimulus to form a government,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher said.
“We’re trying to do small steps, move forward, see what the reaction is. But we are appealing at the same time to the international community to do everything in its power to help Lebanon at this critical time,” he said.