US to help Lebanon with electricity

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Negotiations are continuing with the World Bank to finance the cost of the gas, the presidency statement said…reports Asian Lite News.

The Lebanese presidency said on Thursday that the United States has decided to assist Lebanon with electricity provision as the country struggles with crippling fuel shortages.

It said the US ambassador informed President Michel Aoun of the decision through a phone call on Thursday. There was no immediate comment from the US Embassy in Lebanon.

The plan would provide Egyptian natural gas to Jordan for generation into additional electricity that can be transmitted to Lebanon via Syria, as well as facilitate the transfer of natural gas to Lebanon.

Negotiations are continuing with the World Bank to finance the cost of the gas, the presidency statement said.

Meanwhile, Aoun accused unnamed parties on Thursday of seeking to prevent the formation of a new government and to push the country into chaos.

Earlier this week Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati had expressed optimism that a government could soon be formed to steer Lebanon out of its two-year financial crisis, but the prospect of an imminent deal appears to have faded.

“Several forces are working to prevent the creation of a government and are determined to push the country toward chaos in order to fulfil their political aims,” the presidency said in a statement, citing Aoun.

The statement said Aoun was cooperating with Mikati but that other groups were increasing demands over positions in the future cabinet with the goal of forcing Mikati to quit, an outcome the president said he did not want.

Mikati later said in a statement cited by broadcaster Al-Jadeed that he would continue his efforts to form a government.

The formation of a government is a necessary first step to start pulling Lebanon out of a crisis that has deepened with crippling fuel shortages.

Lebanon has been managed by a caretaker government since the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet following a devastating explosion in Beirut port one year ago.

The formation of a cabinet has been greatly complicated by Lebanon’s sectarian and factional rivalries.

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