image Photo: Reuters

Jordan advances electricity supply deal to Lebanon

The assistance comes under a United States-backed regional plan to help Beirut cope with acute power shortages, announced the Hashemite Kingdom’s Energy Minister Saleh Kharabsheh.

By Erin Viner

Amman will sign a deal with Beirut and Damascus next week to boost supply by 150 megawatts from midnight and 6 AM, and 250 megawatts during the rest of the day.

According to an already-approved initiative proposed last October, Jordan would supply electricity to Lebanon  via Syria, to help boost output from current levels of only a few hours a day at most.

The US-supported plan also aims to pump gas supplies through an Arab pipeline established about 2 decades ago.

Washington recently notified the politically-paralyzed Beirut government that US sanctions on Syria will not be applied to the transport of energy assistance to Lebanon.

Lebanon has been mired in a financial crisis, caused by corrupt government rule and massive debt accrued during the 1975-1990 civil war. The country has been struggling to access sufficient foreign exchange to cover the cost of fuel and other basic imports.

Earlier this week, the US State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs denied reports that Washington mediated a deal for Israel to indirectly supply natural gas to Lebanon.