Hale Underlines Transparent Probe into Beirut Blast
US envoy David Hale called Saturday for a "transparent and credible" probe into the monster blast at Beirut's port, as FBI investigators headed for Lebanon.
Hale said an FBI team is expected to arrive in Beirut by the end of this week to partake in the investigations.
“They will be playing their role in order to make sure the answers of all the Lebanese people, and all of us have, about what exactly happened and what led to the circumstances of this explosion,” said Hale to reporters.
“We really need to make sure that there is a thorough and transparent, credible investigation that everyone is demanding," he added while touring the blast site on the final day of a visit to the crisis-hit country.
“Stepping back from whatever happened specifically related to this explosion is that we can never go back to an era in which anything goes at the port and the borders of Lebanon that had to contribute to this situation. Lebanese people will have to determine how best to do that. But every sovereign state controls its borders and ports thoroughly,” emphasized the US envoy.
A huge stock of hazardous material abandoned in a warehouse at the port in the heart of the capital exploded on August 4, killing 177 people and devastating swathes of Beirut.
The hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been left unsecured for several years, despite repeated warnings of the dangers it posed.
The disaster led to demands at home and abroad for an international investigation, calls that have been rebuffed by Lebanon's political leaders, widely accused of negligence that led to the explosion.
Hizbullah stands accused of wielding great influence over Beirut's port and border posts.
The explosion reignited claims that Hizbullah, which is designated by Washington as a terrorist group, stored arms at the blast site.
The movement's chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday strongly denied the charges.