A Lebanese ministerial delegation is expected to carry out an official visit to Damascus this week for the first time since 2011.
The visit aims to discuss an agreement to import natural gas from Egypt through Syria and Jordan to the Deir Ammar power plant in north Lebanon.
President Michel Aoun and caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab signed an extraordinary decree tasking deputy Prime Minister and caretaker Defense and Foreign Minister Zeina Akar to head the delegation, which should also include Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar and Abbas Ibrahim, who heads Lebanon’s General Security Directorate.
“The ministers were surprised by the assignment and said they learned about the visit from the media,” ministerial sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.
The sources said the date of the visit has not been set yet, but they confirmed that Ibrahim is coordinating with Damascus on the visit. “Talks in Damascus should reactivate an agreement to import Egyptian gas through the Jordan-Syria line to Lebanon,” the sources added.
They also confirmed that Egypt was willing to export gas to Lebanon, while the US and Jordan have both facilitated the matter.
Lebanon relies on Egyptian natural gas to increase the production of power, as the country struggles with crippling fuel shortages.
Many legal, technical and financial obstacles that had been hindering the agreement to import Egyptian gas to Lebanon have been removed, media reports said on Monday.
Sources asserted to al-Akhbar newspaper that “the agreement will also include the shipment of the imported gas to Al-Zahrani, which will lead to the operation of the two largest power plants in Lebanon.”
They confirmed that Egyptian gas can arrive to Lebanon “within weeks of signing the agreement.”
But the newspaper said that the agreement cannot be signed before the new government’s formation.
Beirut – Asharq Al-Awsat