Jordan expects electricity flows to Lebanon via Syria next month

Deal to supply 250MW will take effect after World Bank sanctions funds, minister says

Lebanon's Energy Minister Walid Fayyad, centre, with Jordanian Energy Minister Saleh Kharabsheh, left, and Syria's Electricity Minister Ghassan Al Zamil, signed a deal to export electricity from Jordan to Lebanon through Syria at a meeting in Beirut on January  26.  AP Photo
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Jordan's Energy Minister Saleh Al Kharabsheh on Monday said the kingdom could begin exporting electricity to Lebanon through Syria in March, but an agreement with the World Bank needs to be concluded first.

The energy ministers of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria signed a deal last month in Beirut last month on sending 250 megawatts of Jordanian electricity to Lebanon through government-controlled areas of Syria. The US has supported the deal despite sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime.

Lebanon has suffered an acute shortage electricity since its economy began collapsing three years ago and a meltdown of its financial system under a heavy debt load.

Mr Kharabsheh, who was in Cairo on Monday for an energy conference, told Al Arabiya television that the electricity supply would begin “after the conclusion of a financing agreement with the World Bank".

The World Bank has indicated that it would be willing to loan Lebanon hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for the electricity imports through Syria. Such a loan would be practically impossible without tacit approval from the US, which in recent months has eased its policy of isolation against the Syrian regime.

Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayyad said details of the financing from the Word Bank “will be clear” by March.

The Syrian regime has been largely ostracised in the region following its crackdown on the 2011 uprising against five decades of Assad family rule.

Jordan, which is one of the largest recipients of US aid, has been advocating a normalisation of ties with Syria. Russia, Mr Assad's most powerful backer, intervened to facilitate meetings between Jordanian and Syrian officials last year.

Updated: February 14, 2022, 4:20 PM