Lebanon’s acting energy minister said on Wednesday that “politics” were behind the delay in a US-backed deal to supply electricity to his country from Jordan through Syrian territory to ease power shortages.
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Walid Fayed told Reuters that the World Bank, which had promised to finance the project, was “tying it up with some kind of political exertion,” without getting into specifics, pointing to outside views.
Speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference in the Jordanian capital, Fayed said the World Bank was also “adding more conditions, although they were clear at the beginning.”
Fayed said the United States had sought to “see the financing terms from the World Bank” to ensure that the power deal was “not acceptable”, even though Washington in January extended sanctions to Beirut on its regional energy supply plans. Was told not to be afraid.
In 2019 the US Caesar Act 2019 allows Washington to seize the assets of anyone dealing with Syria, intended to persuade President Bashar al-Assad to halt his war with opposition forces and agree a political solution is to force.
A World Bank spokesman was not immediately available for comment on Fayed’s remarks, and the US embassy in Lebanon referred Reuters to the World Bank and the Lebanese government for details about the deal.
Lebanon and Jordan signed an agreement in Beirut last January to ease the Lebanese electricity shortage by transmitting about 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity to Syrian territory.
The deal is part of a broader plan that aims to pump Egyptian gas to a power station in northern Lebanon via a pipeline that runs through Jordan and Syria.
The agreement with Egypt is yet to be signed.
Fayed said the delay will worsen shortages as Lebanon enters its summer season, with high energy demand and an influx of tourists.
Lebanon has suffered power shortages from its 1975–90 civil war, which devastated power infrastructure and left many families dependent on private generators.
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