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Lebanon: Concerns Rise of Total Darkness after the Polls

Lebanon: Concerns Rise of Total Darkness after the Polls

Sunday, 1 May, 2022 - 06:30
Lebanon is crippled by frequent power cuts as corruption keeps hindering the improvement of the country's energy sector. (AFP)

Warnings are growing in Lebanon that the country’s lingering electricity crisis could worsen after its parliamentary elections on May 15, amid fears of total darkness engulfing the nation in light of dysfunctional public services.

Walid Fayyad, Lebanon’s Energy Minister declared that the completion of the contract to import gas from Egypt through Syrian territory requires American guarantees in order not to fall under the Caesar law sanctions imposed on Syria.

In talks with the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek al-Mulla in April, Fayyad said that securing the necessary funding is in the hands of the World Bank. He also pointed out that US guarantees are required to exempt Lebanon from the repercussions of the Caesar law for oil transmission to Lebanon through Syria.

Lebanese lawmaker, Nazih Najem told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The problem is not in the agreement with the World Bank nor on how to import gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan. The real problem is that the decision in Lebanon comes from abroad.”

He said that the government is aware that none of this will happen, but stands idle without looking for alternatives.

The MP said that unfortunately, the government waits for the street to explode in anger instead.

Najem explained that some alternative solutions for importing gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan were presented to the government eight months ago without receiving any response.

Moreover, he stated that no US guarantees, exempting Egypt and Jordan from sanctions shall they export gas and electricity to Lebanon through Syria, were given to the two countries.

Lebanon suffers from a severe electricity crisis supply and seeks to resolve it through a plan supported by the US through the import of Egyptian gas which will be pumped through Jordan and Syria to operate a power station in North Lebanon. But the agreement was not even signed.

Energy and oil expert, Laury Haytayan told Asharq Al Awsat: “The government’s ambiguity is not reassuring for any foreign party to deal with it.”

She said the World Bank links funding of Lebanon’s electricity plan to the implementation of reforms which “unfortunately are nothing but promises.”

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