| 9 February 2023, Thursday |

Blinken’s assistant warns… the energy sector in Lebanon is on the “verge of collapse”

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf announced that “no decision has yet been taken regarding the transfer of gas and electricity from Egypt and Jordan to Lebanon, because contracts have not yet been signed,” noting that “the energy sector in Lebanon is on the verge of collapse.”

Leaf added during a congressional session, “Lebanon has been suffering for years. It is now undoubtedly on the brink of the collapse of the state and society, and we are trying, through several measures, to put an end to this possibility, because the impact on the Lebanese is great, but the impact on the region more broadly will be greater.” Lev identified the repercussions on “Israel, Jordan and other countries.”

Although the contract between Lebanon, Jordan and Syria was signed at the beginning of this year, and stipulates that Jordan will supply 250 megawatts of electricity, which will be transferred to Lebanon via Syria, the agreement with Egypt to supply gas was not signed, because Egypt is waiting for a clear American decision to exempt it from the sanctions of the Caesar Act .

For his part, the Lebanese Energy Minister in the caretaker government, Walid Fayyad, said yesterday, Wednesday, that “politics” is behind the delay of a project supported by the United States to provide his country with electricity through Syria to alleviate the impact of the frequent interruptions.

Fayyad told Reuters that the World Bank, which pledged to finance the project, is also trying to link it to some political issues, alluding to external considerations, without giving details.

Speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference in the Jordanian capital, Fayyad said that the World Bank was adding more conditions, although they were clear from the beginning.

He pointed out that the United States demanded that it see the financing terms from the World Bank to ensure that the electricity agreement is free from sanctions, even though Washington had asked Beirut in January not to worry about sanctions regarding its regional energy supply plans.

The US Caesar Act of 2019 allows Washington to freeze the assets of any party dealing with Syria with the aim of forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the war with armed opposition groups and agree to a political solution.

  • Sawt Beirut International