BEIRUT: A delegation from the Lebanese interim government will visit Syria on Saturday at the highest level in years to pave the way for a US-backed plan to alleviate an electricity crisis in Lebanon by transmitting electricity over the Syrian grid.
Lebanese government officials have largely shunned Syria since the war began in 2011, when Beirut had a policy of staying out of regional conflict, even when the heavily armed Hezbollah group fought in support of Damascus.
Lebanon suffers from energy shortages that have forced even essential services, including hospitals, to shut down or downsize. The crisis is the result of a larger financial crisis that has devastated the economy since 2019.
The delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Zeina Akar, will discuss the plan to use Egyptian gas to generate electricity in Jordan, which will then be transported via Syria, a Lebanese official said.
A statement by the Syrian Ministry of Information said that Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad would receive the Lebanese delegation with the finance and energy ministers at the border on Saturday. The United States has said it is in talks with Egypt, Jordan and the World Bank to find solutions to Lebanon‘s energy crisis. The Lebanese Presidency said last month that Washington had decided to help with this plan.
The US sanctions against Damascus are making efforts to help Lebanon through Syria more difficult, an issue discussed by US senators who visited Lebanon this week.
Posted in Dawn, September 4, 2021