Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad was heard making disparaging remarks about a US official following the signing of an electricity deal, a video circulated yesterday shows.
Speaking to his Syrian counterpart Ghassan Al-Zamil during a ceremony held to sign the deal which would see electricity brought in from Jordan, Fayyad could be heard saying: "I tell her she's my best friend. She can kill this deal, I say this laughing but I want to cry."
Open mic moment 🎤🇱🇧🇸🇾
Lebanon energy minister: I tell US amb she's my best friend. She can kill this deal (importing Jordan electricity via Syria despite Caesar Sanctions)
Syria minister: Of course of course.
— Firas Maksad (@FirasMaksad) January 27, 2022
Fayyad was referencing American Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea after the US agreed to make concessions to the Ceaser Act which imposed sanctions on those doing business with Syria to allow for the deal to go ahead.
Lebanon, which is suffering the world's worst economic crisis according to the World Bank, has been experiencing regular blackouts. Its fiscal woes have pushed more than half the population to live in poverty.
Following the circulation of the footage, Fayyad said in a statement that his comments "were misunderstood, unintentionally or on purpose". Adding that he was saying "that the deal will need US funding and approval or else we will cry."
The deal signed on Wednesday is one of two backed by the US, with the other due to see gas imported from egypt, through Jordan and Syria and into Lebanon.