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Lebanon PM requests urgent gas supplies from Egypt

The platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea which started production today is pictured from the Israeli northern coastal city of Dor on December 31, 2019 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
The platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea pictured from the Israeli northern coastal city of Dor on December 31, 2019 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanon has requested urgent support from Egypt to fulfil its natural gas needs.

In a Facebook post added today, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that he made the request during his official visit to Egypt where met President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The bilateral meeting took place on Wednesday and was attended by multiple senior officials including Prime Minister of Egypt Mustafa Madbouli, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Samah Shukri and the Director of General Intelligence Abbas Kamel.

A separate meeting between Mikati and Madbouli also took place, which was attended by Lebanon's Ambassador to Cairo Ali Al-Halabi, diplomatic adviser Boutros Asaker, and the Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt for Arab Affairs Alaa Moussa.

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In his statement, Mikati confirmed that Al-Sisi had given directions to the relevant ministries that any requested assistance should be provided as soon as possible.

As well as discussing plans to strengthen cooperation on gas and electricity, the two leaders also reviewed various areas where Lebanon required support, such as food and medical aid.

During an interview with Ahram Daily, Mikati said the meeting was "extremely fruitful". He notably also addressed the potential challenges of securing gas supplies from Egypt given the need for extensive repair-work to the Arab Gas Pipeline.

The pipeline, which runs through Jordan and Syria, had previously transported gas to Lebanon, however, factors including rising domestic demand in Egypt and attacks on the pipeline in recent years have rendered it inoperative. According to Mikati, Lebanon has "agreed with an Egyptian company to carry out this rehabilitation".

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The discussions over gas supplies follow Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla's announcement in November that Egypt expects to export 60-65 million cubit feet of gas each day by early 2022.

Discussions over the provision of Egyptian gas have been on-going following a plan by Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt approved by ministers at a meeting in Amman in September. Under the agreement, natural gas from Egypt will be piped to Lebanon via Jordan and Syria.

Lebanon continues to suffer regular electricity outages as the country struggles to cope with a debilitating financial crisis.

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AfricaEgyptLebanonMiddle EastNews
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