Egypt’s Sisi pushes government to speed up supply of natural gas to Lebanon
CAIRO – Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered the government to speed up the process of supplying Lebanon with the natural gas required to generate energy and alleviate the power crisis in the country, the state-run Ahram Online outlet reported on Thursday, citing prime minister Mostafa Madbouly.
In a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Najib Mikati in the Egyptian capital Cairo, Madbouly further vowed to study a Lebanese proposal to install long-term power linkage ventures between the two countries, according to a statement released by the Egyptian cabinet on Facebook.
Lebanon has suffered an acute electricity crisis this year made worse by a lack of foreign currency to purchase fuel. The problem is decades old and has never been fully resolved due to rampant corruption and mismanagement.
Last month, Egyptian minister of petroleum and mineral resources, Tarek El-Mulla, announced that he expected Egypt to start supplying Lebanon with gas by the start of 2022.
Under the agreement announced two months earlier, Egypt is to supply natural gas to Lebanon via a pipeline that passes through Jordan and Syria to help boost Lebanon's electricity output.
Jordan will also provide Lebanon with electricity via Syria, financed by a loan from the World Bank.
The Syrian regime had said rehabilitation on its network should be completed by the end of the year in order to help export the energy to neighbouring Lebanon.
It is believed that both Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity could keep the lights on in Lebanon for an additional 10 hours a day, as most regions currently suffer from blackouts lasting for up to 22 hours.
Meanwhile, Mikati said he had reviewed with Madbouly means of boosting cooperation in gas imports and power linkages between Egypt and Lebanon as well as facilitating trade exchange, especially Lebanese agricultural products.
Earlier in the day, Sisi had a meeting with Mikati in the presence of Madbouly and top diplomats from both countries, during which the Egyptian president stressed the importance of the security and stability of Lebanon, spokesman to the presidency Bassam Rady said in a statement on Facebook.