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EU Commission ready to help Lebanon with preferential…

BRUSSELS, Aug 6 – The European Commission is ready to help Lebanon with preferential trade and customs backing, the head of the EU executive said on Thursday after a phone call with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

The offer from Commission President Ursula von der Leyen came after Tuesday’s blast which killed at least 137 people and injured 5,000, flattened Beirut port and devastated the city.

“The Commission stood ready to explore how to boost our trade relations in this challenging time, in particular in the form of further preferential trade and customs facilitation,” von der Leyen said in a statement.

She also offered the EU’s help in assessing Beirut’s reconstruction and Lebanon’s recovery, as well as support in discussions with international financial institutions to unlock further economic aid.

The 27-country bloc has deployed more than 100 firefighters, a military vessel for medical evacuation and activated its Copernicus Satellite mapping system to help assess the damage. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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