A World Bank delegation announced to Speaker Nabih Berri Monday that it was preparing vital projects aimed at helping Lebanon cope with the Syrian refugee crisis days after the legislature approved loans provided by the organization.
The delegation, which visited Berri at his Ain al-Tineh residence, was headed by Hafez Ghanem, the vice president of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa.
The officials extended their condolences to Berri over the victims which fell last week in a double suicide bombing which rocked the Beirut southern suburb of Burj al-Barajneh, killing at least 46 people and wounded more than 200.
The delegation thanked Berri for efforts he made which led to Parliament’s approval of several World Bank loans last week.
The guests also informed Berri that the World Bank was preparing a series of vital projects to help Lebanon cope with the Syrian refugee crisis.
Lebanon was at a risk of losing out on millions worth in soft loans, grants and aid due to political paralysis. Parliamentary blocs bickered over what ought to be placed on the agenda for a session and repeatedly failed to convene.
But last week an agreement was reached resulting in Parliament meeting whereby most of the major blocs, save for the Kataeb Party, were represented. The attendees deliberated on the tens of items placed on the agenda and approved securing the funds from the World Bank.
Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Badr al-Din Zayed also visited Berri and offered his condolences for the victims of the Burj al-Barajneh bombings. He called on Lebanese political leaders to reach an agreement and voiced his support for Berri’s efforts in hosting national dialogue.
“We have been closely following the latest statements coming from Lebanese political groups,” Zayed said. “They all point to the same direction: that the current status quo is unbearable and there is a need for a complete political settlement.”
Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014, when the term of President Michel Sleiman expired. Rival March 8 and March 14 groups have vetoed their respective candidates.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi also paid his respects to the victims of the Burj al-Barajneh blasts and sent Berri a telegram offering “Egypt’s extreme condemnation of these heinous, cowardly acts.”
Unite Nations Refugee Chief Antonio Guterres also telegrammed Berri offering his condolences.