BEIRUT: A delegation from Lebanon’s caretaker government will visit Syria on Saturday in the highest level visit in years, aiming to pave the way for a US-backed plan to ease a power crisis in Lebanon by transmitting electricity via the Syrian grid.

Lebanese government officials have mostly avoided Syria since war began there in 2011 as Beirut adopted a policy of staying out of regional conflicts, even as the heavily armed group Hezbollah fought in support of Damascus.

Lebanon is suffering energy shortages that have forced even essential services including hospitals to shut down or scale back operations. The crisis is the result of a wider financial meltdown that has devastated the economy since 2019.

The delegation, to be led by the deputy prime minister and defence minister, Zeina Akar, will discuss the plan by which Egyptian gas will be used to generate electricity in Jordan that will then be transmitted via Syria, a Lebanese official said.

A Syrian information ministry statement said Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad would receive the Lebanese delegation including the ministers of finance and energy at the border on Saturday. The United States has said it is in talks with Egypt, Jordan and the World Bank to help find solutions to Lebanon’s energy crisis. The Lebanese presidency said last month Washington had decided to help through this plan.

US sanctions on Damascus are a complicating factor in any effort to help Lebanon via Syria, an issue discussed by US senators who visited Lebanon this week.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

No excuses
Updated 09 Feb, 2023

No excuses

The govt should stop attempting to hijack the electoral process with its shenanigans and assist ECP to fulfill its role.
Growing expenses
09 Feb, 2023

Growing expenses

WITH their costs going up following the massive currency devaluation and increase in fuel prices in the last couple...
Toxic environment
09 Feb, 2023

Toxic environment

FOR millions in our teeming cities, clean air and water have become luxuries. What is even more alarming is that...
A grave tragedy
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

A grave tragedy

It is hoped that Pakistan continues to send as many personnel and relief goods as needed to Turkiye, Syria.
Pharma shutdown
08 Feb, 2023

Pharma shutdown

IN the midst of an economic and political maelstrom, a fresh crisis threatens the availability of drugs in the...
PSL season
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

PSL season

PSL has provided a launching pad for several of the team’s current stars, and for them, hitting top form will be key.