Syria agrees to Lebanon’s request to “pass” energy from Egypt and Jordan | DW Arabic news | Breaking news and perspectives from around the world | DW

Syria agrees to Lebanon’s request to “pass” energy from Egypt and Jordan | DW Arabic news | Breaking news and perspectives from around the world | DW
Syria agrees to Lebanon’s request to “pass” energy from Egypt and Jordan | DW Arabic news | Breaking news and perspectives from around the world | DW

Today, Saturday (September 4, 2021), Damascus welcomed Lebanon’s “request” to pass gas and electric power from Egypt and Jordan through its territory, and expressed its willingness to “accept it” to alleviate the impact of an energy crisis that Lebanon has been experiencing for months, in the first visit of a high-ranking Lebanese ministerial delegation. The level of Syria since the outbreak of the conflict ten years ago.

The Lebanese delegation, consisting of Deputy Prime Minister, Caretaker Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs Zina Aker, Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni, Minister of Energy Raymond Ghajar and Director General of Public Security Major General Abbas Ibrahim, arrived in Syria this morning. A meeting was held at the headquarters of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, in the presence of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Faisal Miqdad, and Bassam Tohme, of Oil.

During a press conference attended by the attendees, the Secretary-General of the Lebanese-Syrian Supreme Council, which includes representatives of the two countries, Nasri Khoury said: “The Lebanese side demanded the possibility of Syria’s assistance to Lebanon in passing Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity through Syrian territory. The Syrian side welcomed the request and affirmed Syria’s readiness to meet that.” The two sides agreed to follow up on technical matters through a joint technical team.

Tohme told reporters that the goal of the joint team is to determine “the readiness of the infrastructure and its safety,” because “whether gas or electric vehicles were subjected to significant damage” during the conflict, “the process of restoring them or keeping them in a state of readiness cost very large sums.”

Excluding Lebanon from US sanctions on Syria?
For months, Lebanon has been witnessing a shortage of fuel, which is reflected in various sectors, including hospitals, bakeries, communications and foodstuffs, in light of an economic crisis that has been worsening for two years and has been classified by the World Bank among the worst in the world since the year 1850. Syria, in turn, suffers from a severe electrical energy crisis as a result of the conflict that has been going on in it since 2011 Exacerbated by the economic sanctions imposed on it.

And last month, the Lebanese presidency announced, informing it, of Washington’s approval to help Lebanon draw electricity and gas from Egypt and Jordan through Syria and Lebanon. In practice, the American pledge means Washington’s agreement to exempt Lebanon from the sanctions imposed on Syria, which prohibit any financial or commercial dealings with it.

Lebanon has been negotiating for more than a year with Cairo to import gas through Jordan and Syria, according to what a source familiar with the file told AFP, but US sanctions on Syria, the latest of which is the Caesar Act, have always constituted an obstacle to the agreement. The agreement stipulates that Egyptian gas be used to operate electricity production plants in Lebanon, and that it be supplied with electric power from Jordan, which also imports Egyptian gas to produce the energy that it used to supply to Syria as well in the past.
The gas is supposed to be transported via what is known as the “Arab Line”, from the Jordanian border in the south to central Syria, and from there to a quantitative measurement station near the Lebanese-Syrian border, and then to Lebanon.

Shared energy crisis!
This is the first official Lebanese government visit to Syria since the outbreak of the conflict, as Lebanon officially followed the principle of “disassociation” from the war, amid major divisions between the political forces over the relationship with Damascus and thus Hezbollah’s participation in the fighting alongside government forces. The two countries maintained diplomatic relations, but official visits declined to a large extent, and were limited to individual initiatives by ministers and personalities representing parties allied to Damascus, led by Hezbollah, which has long called for official openness to Syria, which is still rejected by other political forces.

In two years, the Lebanese pound lost more than 90 percent of its value against the dollar. The United Nations estimated that 78 Percent of the population is now living in poverty. As a result of the severe fuel crisis, the ability of the Electricity Corporation to provide nutrition to all regions declined, which led to raising the rationing hours to exceed 22 hour a day. Private generators are no longer able to provide the diesel needed to cover the hours of power outages. Citizens stand daily for long hours in front of gas stations to fill up their car tanks. Hospitals have repeatedly warned of running out of fuel and its dangers to patients’ lives.

In Syria, the years of war drained the energy and electricity sectors, with the most prominent oil and gas fields out of Damascus’s control on the one hand, and generation plants and pipelines damaged in the battles on the other. Government-controlled areas are witnessing long rationing hours, which during the past months amounted to about twenty hours a day, due to the lack of fuel and gas needed to operate the power plants. Economic sanctions prevent regular oil tankers from reaching it.
America: Lebanon does not need Iran!
During a visit to Beirut for a delegation from the US Senate, Senator Chris Murphy said that any fuel passing through Syria could be subject to sanctions, adding, “Therefore, we are working to determine if we can facilitate the transportation (to Lebanon) without applying US sanctions.” He continued, “We do not believe that Lebanon needs to rely on Iranian fuel tankers in order to resolve the crisis.”

Lebanon informs Lebanon of Washington’s willingness to help it to bring in Egyptian gas, after Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced that a “first ship” loaded with diesel would go to Lebanon from Iran, the party’s first supporter, on which Washington imposes economic sanctions. The ship left Iranian ports about two weeks ago, and is still in the waters of the Red Sea, according to the Tankers Tracker website, which specializes in monitoring ship traffic.

The ship is expected to head to Syria to unload its cargo before transporting it overland to Lebanon, while no official Lebanese statement was issued about the Iranian shipments, which sparked a political controversy. Following Washington’s announcement, Nasrallah promised additional shipments of fuel from Iran. A second ship sailed a few days ago. Sending Iranian ships loaded with fuel to Lebanon raised concerns, especially after ships linked to Iran and Israel were attacked in the past months, each side accusing the other of being behind at least some of them.
MAA/ShM (DPA, AFP, Reuters)

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    spark protests

    The Lebanese government announced in late 2019 its intention to impose a fee on free communications via electronic messaging applications such as WhatsApp. The anger of the Lebanese people touched, weeks ago, signs of a severe economic crisis, the most prominent features of which were the collapse of the price of the lira and the bread crisis, so they took to the streets to express their rejection of the decision and their desire to overthrow the regime. From here the spark of protests started with the succession of crises on the Lebanese, the worst of which was the explosion of the port of Beirut.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Hariri’s government resigns

    Despite the Saad Hariri government’s retreat from imposing the financial fee, popular protests continued. Within days, the popular movement reached its climax, with hundreds of thousands demonstrating throughout the country, calling for the departure of the ruling class, which has not been touched by fundamental change for decades and is accused of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of street anger, Saad Hariri’s government resigned in 2019.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Corona crisis

    In February 2020, Lebanon recorded its first infection with the Corona virus. The burdens gradually accumulated on the health sector, which was exhausted by the dire economic situation in the country. In the absence of government plans to deal with the virus and the succession of economic and political crises, the country’s epidemiological situation began to take a worse curve with the outbreak of the delta mutant.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    The failure of the Diab government

    On March 7, 2020, the new government headed by Hassan Diab announced an economic recovery plan for Lebanon and requested the assistance of the International Monetary Fund. After about two weeks, negotiations began between the two parties, but they stopped in the summer of 2020 after several sessions due to differences between the Lebanese parties themselves.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Beirut port explosion

    On August 4, 2020, a huge explosion rang out in Beirut, destroying neighborhoods and killing more than two hundred people. A few hours after it occurred, the authorities attributed the explosion to huge amounts of ammonium nitrate stored in warehouse No. 12 in the port of Beirut since 2014. The explosion, which is considered one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in the world, caused huge damage to the port and its nearby neighborhoods, and resulted in 214 people were killed and 6,500 injured.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    The explosion exacerbates the tragedies of Lebanon!

    The explosion constituted an unprecedented shock to the Lebanese, who were exhausted by successive crises. The next day, Beirut residents began searching for the missing and inspecting their damaged homes and buildings, while aid workers were busy searching for potential survivors under the rubble. Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud described the impact as “catastrophic”. A state of emergency was declared and international aid began pouring into the country.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Macron extends a hand to the rescue

    On August 6, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut, where he inspected the port and damaged neighborhoods amid a crowd of Lebanese angry at a political class accused of corruption and mismanagement. At the conclusion of his visit, he called for a “change” in the system. Then he sponsored an international conference to support Lebanon, during which the international community pledged to provide emergency assistance worth about $300 million, provided that it would not pass through state institutions.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Diab’s government resigns

    On the eighth of August, thousands of Lebanese demonstrated against the political officials who blamed them for the tragedy of the Beirut port explosion. The demonstrations witnessed violent confrontations between angry protesters and the security forces, who used tear gas and rubber bullets. Several ministers announced their resignation, in turn, until Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on August 10 the resignation of his government.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Crisis followed by another!

    In light of the accelerating economic collapse, more than half of the Lebanese people are below the poverty line, according to the United Nations. The Lebanese pound has also lost more than 90% of its value against the dollar on the black market, while the prices of all materials and goods have risen, even as the prices of basic foodstuffs have risen by more than 70 percent in two years. The country has also been witnessing for weeks a fuel crisis, a shortage of medicine, and severe electricity rationing of up to 22 hours.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Aborting the formation of a new government

    Nine months after his assignment, Saad Hariri apologized for not forming a government after sharp political differences with the President of the Republic prevented him from completing the task. Najib Mikati, who headed two governments in 2005 and 2011, was assigned to form a new government. The formation of governments in Lebanon usually takes many months due to political divisions. But the economic collapse, exacerbated by the port explosion and the outbreak of the Corona virus, are factors that make its formation urgent.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Support versus political stability

    For a whole year, the Lebanese judiciary has not announced any progress in the investigation into the explosion of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate stored for years in the port of Beirut without any preventive measures. Nor do any radical solutions appear on the horizon to save the country, while the international community requires accelerating the formation of a government that will implement urgent reforms, in return for providing financial support to Lebanon.

  • In Tire..a year for Lebanese wounds that did not heal!

    Lebanon on the anniversary of its worst crisis

    On the first anniversary of the Beirut port explosion, French President Emmanuel Macron is organizing an international conference to help Lebanon, the third in cooperation with the United Nations. Through this conference, Paris seeks to collect urgent humanitarian aid worth 350 million dollars for the people of Lebanon, which is mired in its economic crises and the worst in the world since the middle of the last century, as classified by the World Bank. Will Lebanon’s wounds heal soon? Prepared by: Iman Molouk

    Author: Iman Molouk

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