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Lebanon asks US for exemption from Syria sanctions for imports, exports

Syrians queue to fill their car with gasoline at a station in the capital Damascus on April 8, 2019. - The lines at the stations were the latest sign of a fuel crisis hitting regime-held parts of war-torn Syria, as the government set a cap on the daily consumption of subsidised petrol. Syria's government has been facing a flurry of international sanctions since the conflict started in 2011, including over the import of petroleum-related products. (Photo by LOUAI BESHARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images)
Syrians queue to fill their car with gasoline at a station in the capital Damascus on April 8, 2019 [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanon has requested the United States provide it with an exemption from the ban on imports and exports through Syria, citing the economic and fuel crises currently ravaging Lebanon.

According to the Syrian news outlet Athr Press, the speaker of Lebanon's parliament Nabih Berri made the request to the US on Wednesday, in an effort to allow the exports to and imports from neighbouring Syria to help ease Lebanon's hardships.

Berri reportedly made the request in a meeting with a delegation from the US Congress' Foreign Affairs Committee, headed by Senator Christopher Murphy, stating: "Lebanon must obtain exceptions that guarantee the free movement of imports and exports across its land borders with Syria."

"This step will help Lebanon resolve many of the social and living crises that are bearing down on the Lebanese people."

READ: EU voices concern over worsening Lebanon crisis

The ban on the importing and exporting of goods through Syria are a result of the sanctions imposed on the country and the regime of Bashar Al-Assad by the US and European Union as a result of the ongoing decade-long Syrian conflict. The Caesar Sanctions imposed last year were the most major set of measures to be implemented against the Assad regime and its allies.

Due to Lebanon's lack of a viable government, severe shortage of fuel and essential goods, and its plummeting currency, trade with its neighbour Syria is seen as a lifeline for the struggling coastal country.

Last September, US senators also urged for Lebanon's exemption from the Caesar Sanctions, and the US embassy has reportedly stated that Lebanon is exempt from part of the ban and that items related to gas and electricity supply from Syria are to be allowed. However, that exemption has not yet been directly implemented.

Lebanon is in the throes of a deep economic meltdown that is threatening its stability. The World Bank has called it one of the deepest depressions of modern history.

READ: The US Caesar sanctions are a punishment not a solution for Syria

Asia & AmericasLebanonMiddle EastNewsSyriaUS
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