Syria ‘ready’ to help Lebanon with gas, electricity transit

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Damascus

Syria has agreed to help crisis-hit Lebanon by al-lowing gas and electricity transit through its terri-tory, a senior Lebanese official said Saturday during the first high-level visit from Beirut to Damascus since Syria’s civil war broke out 10 years ago.

Harsh fuel shortages and power cuts inflicted by Lebanon’s economic collapse have paralyzed busi-nesses like restaurants, shops and industry as well as vital services like hospitals.

Now Beirut hopes to strike a deal to import gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan using Syrian infrastructure — with Washington’s blessing despite US sanctions against the Damascus regime.

Syria is “ready” to help Lebanon with “transit for Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity via Syrian territory,” senior Lebanese official Nasri Khouri told reporters after the delegation led by interim deputy prime minister Zeina Akar met Syrian For-eign Minister Faisal Al-Meqdad and Oil Minister Bassam Tomeh.

“The parties agreed to set up a joint team to track technical details” of the plan, Khouri added. Work will be needed to get Syria’s war-ravaged infrastructure up to the task of moving the energy.

Meanwhile Lebanon’s presidency has previously spoken of US-led talks with the World Bank to fi-nance its imports.

Lebanon has maintained diplomatic ties with Syria but it adopted a policy of dissociation from the con-flict since it started in 2011, which put a dampener on official dealings..–AFP

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