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Szijjártó holds talks with Lebanese Foreign Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó had a telephone conversation with Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Vahba yesterday, discussing the Beirut explosion, according to a report by government website kormany.hu.

The disaster site in Beirut, a day after the explosion. (Photo by Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com)

According to a Facebook post by the Hungarian minister, his Lebanese counterpart thanked the Hungarians for their support and solidarity on several occasions. 

Szijjártó pointed out that the Lebanese FM was only recently appointed, and this was the first time they had spoken, noting that "it would have been good to have a different reason for doing so".

"However, Lebanon has found itself in an extremely difficult situation because of the huge explosions in Beirut on Tuesday," Szijjártó added.

He expressed his condolences with relation to the more than 100 victims of the explosion and wished the some 600 injured a speedy recovery. [Estimates vary, the number of injured people currently stands at 5,000, CNN writes citing information by Lebanese state news agency NNA.]

Szijjártó indicated that the Hungarian government is sending EUR 1 million in emergency aid to the Maronite Catholic Church so they can help families in need.

The two ministers agreed that they will speak again once the requirements that arise during the reconstruction become clear, so they can discuss further assistance, wrote Szijjártó, ending his post with the words "Stay strong, Lebanon!".

Two explosions shook the capital of Lebanon on Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday the Lebanese government declared a two-week state of emergency. According to a report by Al-Manar television, on Wednesday afternoon Health Minister Hamad Hassan stated that 135 people had died in the disaster, thousands were injured, and dozens are still registered as missing.

The countryʼs government stated that it has placed an unknown number of port officials under house arrest for the duration of the investigation into how the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at the port for years could have exploded.