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World News

No Beirut blast inquiry request, says U.N. after Macron call for probe

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations has not received any requests to investigate the deadly explosion in Beirut’s port, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday after French President Emmanuel Macron called for an international inquiry.

Dozens are still missing after Tuesday’s blast in the Lebanese capital that killed at least 154 people, injured 5,000 and left up to 250,000 without habitable homes, hammering a nation already staggering from economic meltdown and a surge in coronavirus cases.

Initial Lebanese probes have pointed to an ammonium nitrate cargo, which was abandoned in Beirut, as the source of the blast. During a visit to Beirut on Thursday, Macron said that a transparent international inquiry was needed.

“We would be willing to consider such a request if we were to receive one. Nothing like that has been received, however,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could also establish an inquiry if mandated by a U.N. legislative body such as the 193-member General Assembly or the 15-member Security Council.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Friday that a Lebanese investigation into the blast would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference or if it was due to negligence or an accident.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Grant McCool

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