Lebanon to pay historical visit to Syria

DAMASCUS, Syria (North Press) – A high-ranking Lebanese ministerial delegation will visit Syria on Saturday and will meet with Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Faisal Mekdad, a diplomatic source in Damascus said.

The Lebanese delegation will include Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati , Acting Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs, Zeina Akkar, Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni, Minister of Energy, Raymond Ghajar, and Public Security Director-General, Abbas Ibrahim.

The Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Faisal Mekdad, will receive the Lebanese delegation near Jdaidit Yabws crossing and they will meet in the building of Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in capital, Damascus.

The visit to Syria takes place within a series of several visits by the Lebanese delegation that will include Egypt and Jordan in an attempt by the Lebanese government to secure energy supplies to Lebanon.

The Lebanese delegation will negotiate on procedures required to activate the agreements of importing Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity and ways of cooperation with regard to importing electricity from Syria.

Lebanon is suffering energy shortages, severe hike in prices of food products, and a financial crisis that World Bank described as the worst in a century and a half.

In August, Dorothy Shea, the US ambassador to Lebanon, informed President of the Republic of Lebanon Michel Naim Aoun that the US has agreed to help Lebanon secure electricity and natural gas from Jordan and Egypt through Syrian territory.

“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,” she added.

Shea stressed that US sanctions on Damascus are a complicating factor in any effort to help Lebanon via Syria as she pointed out, “There is a will to make the plan happen.”

Within the context of normalizing Lebanese-Syrian relations, Wiam Wahhab, a Lebanese Druze politician and the founder of the Arab Unification Party, revealed, in a phone call with al-Jadid TV Channel, about his intention to visit Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Sunday with a delegation including MP Talal Arslan and Sheikh Akl of the Druze sect.

Reporting by Hanin Rizq