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Lebanese ministers to make highest level visit to Syria in years

AFP

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Minister of Defense and Vice Prime Minister Zeina Akar arrives for the inaugural cabinet meeting at the presidential palace in Baabda east of capital Beirut on January 22, 2020.
AFPMinister of Defense and Vice Prime Minister Zeina Akar arrives for the inaugural cabinet meeting at the presidential palace in Baabda east of capital Beirut on January 22, 2020.

Delegation heading to Damascus to discuss plans to import gas via Syria to ease Lebanon's energy crisis

Lebanese officials are set to visit Damascus Saturday to discuss plans to import gas through wartorn Syria's territory in what would mark the first official diplomatic visit during the 10-year-old conflict.

The delegation includes Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar, General Security agency chief Abbas Ibrahim and Zeina Akar, who holds the posts of defense minister, foreign minister and deputy premier, Syria's information ministry said in an invite sent to journalists.

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They will be greeted at the Syrian side of the border at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) by Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, the information ministry added. 

A source at Lebanon's Energy Ministry said the two sides will discuss plans to import natural gas via Jordan and Syria to ease Lebanon's energy crisis

The aim is to revive a 2009 agreement that allowed Lebanon to import gas from Egypt through Syria, the source said. 

Lebanon has maintained diplomatic ties with Syria but it adopted a so-called policy of dissociation from the conflict since it started in 2011, which put a dampener on official dealings.

The upcoming visit comes after the Lebanese presidency last month said that Washington has agreed to help Lebanon secure electricity and natural gas from Jordan and Egypt through Syrian territory.