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Jordanian king vows to supply Lebanon with electricity in meeting with PM

King Abdullah II tells Lebanese leader Najib Mikati that Amman will ‘always stand by the side of Lebanon and its brotherly people’

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a parliament session to confirm Lebanon's new government at a Beirut theater known as the UNESCO palace, so that parliament members could observe social distancing measures imposed over the coronavirus pandemic, on September 20, 2021. (AP/Bilal Hussein)
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati speaks during a parliament session to confirm Lebanon's new government at a Beirut theater known as the UNESCO palace, so that parliament members could observe social distancing measures imposed over the coronavirus pandemic, on September 20, 2021. (AP/Bilal Hussein)

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan’s King Abdullah II received Lebanon’s prime minister in Amman on Sunday, saying his country will stand by the small nation and its people during its worst-ever economic crisis.

The visit to Jordan by Prime Minister Najib Mikati is his first to an Arab country since he formed his cabinet last month. It comes after the premier’s trips to France and Britain, as Mikati seeks their help.

Lebanon’s economic crisis, unfolding since 2019, has been described by the World Bank as one of the worst in the world in 150 years. More than 70 percent of Lebanon’s population lives in poverty, and the national currency is in a freefall, driving inflation and unemployment to unprecedented levels.

On Wednesday, Jordan agreed to supply Lebanon with electricity through Syria and work is underway for a timetable. Egypt has also agreed to supply Lebanon with natural gas to its power plants through Jordan and Syria.

Lebanon suffers electricity cuts for up to 22 hours a day and on Saturday the country’s two main power plants were forced to shut down after running out of fuel. That left Lebanon with no government-produced power.

On Sunday, the Lebanese army gave emergency supplies of fuel to the two plants and they resumed work, according to Electricity Minister Walid Fayad.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II speaks during a media conference prior to a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on May 5, 2021. (Johanna Geron, Pool via AP)

Jordan’s Royal Court quoted the king as telling Mikati that “Jordan will always stand by the side of Lebanon and its brotherly people.” It gave no further details, but said the two officials discussed regional affairs as well.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh visited Lebanon late last month, and said there are efforts to provide Lebanon with some electricity from Jordan.

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