FPM Delegation in Bkirki to ‘Contain’ Rai’s Call to Internationalize Lebanon’s Crisis

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai received a delegation from the FPM on Monday (Markaziah News Agency).
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai received a delegation from the FPM on Monday (Markaziah News Agency).
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FPM Delegation in Bkirki to ‘Contain’ Rai’s Call to Internationalize Lebanon’s Crisis

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai received a delegation from the FPM on Monday (Markaziah News Agency).
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai received a delegation from the FPM on Monday (Markaziah News Agency).

A delegation from the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) visited Bkirki on Monday, a day after Maronite Patriarch Beshara Al-Rai proposed “the internationalization of the Lebanese crisis.”

A parliamentary source in the FPM told Asharq Al-Awsat that the “unplanned” visit aimed at discussing the patriarch’s view on the formation of the new government and his recent proposal on holding an international conference for Lebanon under the auspices of the United Nations.

The source said the patriarch was informed of the FPM’s position on the government, revealing that should rapprochement be achieved between both sides then another meeting with al-Rai may be held, this time with the attendance of movement leader Gebran Bassil.

During Sunday mass, Rai demanded that Lebanon’s issue be raised at a special international conference, in the first call of its kind after the severe deterioration of the living and economic crises and the continuous failure to form a government.

“As a founding and committed member of the Arab League and the United Nations Organization, Lebanon – with its collapsing situation - necessitates that its case be brought up in an international conference sponsored by the UN, in a manner that would consolidate its modern constitutional frameworks based on the unity of the entity, system of neutrality and the provision of permanent guarantees that prevent any attempt to undermine its legitimacy,” Rai said.

Following the meeting, former minister Mansour Bteish said that talks focused on the need to form a salvation government of high credibility, in accordance with the terms of the French initiative.

He stressed that President Michel Aoun wanted the new government to be formed “as soon as possible”, stressing that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri “must go to Baabda and consult with Aoun.”

In this context, the parliamentary source affirmed that the FPM “does not see the urgency to internationalize the crisis, as matters can be resolved and the government can be formed if the premier-designate showed more flexibility.”

“Hariri follows certain standards with all parties, and when the matter comes to the Christian ministers, he adopts other criteria,” the source emphasized.

On the other hand, a deputy from Hariri’s Mustaqbal bloc said the PM-designate has acted in accordance with the constitution, by providing the president with a ministerial lineup that included four ministers chosen from the list prepared by Aoun himself, with the possibility of amendment.

Hariri “is waiting for Aoun’s response. If he has any inquiries or matters to discuss in this regard, let him inform the premier-designate, and then the meeting will take place,” the source said.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.