Lebanon signs gas deal with Egypt, Syria for electricity
A long-awaited deal is finally signed between Beirut, Cairo, and Damascus to boost the Lebanese power supply by four hours.
Lebanon, Syria and Egypt signed a deal on Tuesday in order to boost power supply in Lebanon by an additional four hours a day.
In the midst of a financial crisis, which the World Bank called among the most severe since the 1850s, Lebanon launched talks with Egypt last year to import gas passing through Jordan, Syria, and finally arriving to Lebanon.
Beirut's Energy Minister Walid Fayad, as well as officials from Syria and Egypt, signed a final version of the deal in Beirut.
Fayad said in a press conference that the deal's importance lies in the fact that it will secure an additional four hours of electricity a day, up from just two currently.
The deal is part of a wider effort (including a separate deal with Jordan) to boost supply by 8 to 10 hours a day in the coming months.
"We hope that after today, all hurdles will have been cleared so that we can receive World Bank funding and... final guarantees from the US, especially with regard to sanctions," Fayad said, as the implementation of both agreements requires funding from the World Bank and assurances from the US that unilateral sanctions will not be triggered under the Caesar Act (which prohibits dealings with Syria).
The deal was brokered a little more than a year ago when Lebanon began experiencing a fuel and power crisis. As the US prevented any deal with Syria or allowed Lebanon some breathing room, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced that Iran will be sending fuel to Lebanon, prompting the US to announce an initiative to allow the import of electricity to Beirut.