WORLD / MID-EAST
Iraq, Lebanon sign deal to swap goods, services
Published: Jul 25, 2021 07:08 PM
Photo taken on July 20, 2021 shows the view of the Israel-Lebanon border near the northern Israeli settlement of Shtula.(Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on July 20, 2021 shows the view of the Israel-Lebanon border near the northern Israeli settlement of Shtula.(Photo: Xinhua)



Iraq will provide Lebanon with 1 million tons of fuel oil for its power plants in exchange for medical services, under a deal signed on Saturday in Baghdad.

Both countries are suffering from major energy crises, with electricity shortages impacting hospitals.

A statement from the Iraqi authorities said that under the deal, Lebanon would receive 1 million tons of fuel oil in exchange for "goods and services."

Lebanon's energy minister, Raymond Ghajar, said the deal would allow "the purchase of 1 million tons of Iraqi state fuel oil on behalf of Electricite du Liban [EDL]" over the course of a year.

The deal will cover a third of EDL's fuel needs, he said.

 Raymond Ghajar also expressed the hope that EDL could provide "up to nine or 10 hours of electricity [daily] over four months."

In exchange, Lebanon will provide "services and assistance to Iraq in the hospitals sector," he said.

Amid a dire financial and economic crisis, the Lebanese state is also struggling to buy fuel for its power plants. The electricity cuts have been to up to 22 hours a day in some areas of the country.

Health services already struggling with shortages of medicine and an exodus of staff abroad are now also having to contend with almost round-the-clock power cuts.

Iraq is the second largest producer in the OPEC oil cartel.

 Yet decades of conflict, poor maintenance and rampant corruption have battered the country's energy sector.

Much of Iraq's health infrastructure is dilapidated.

The worldwide pandemic corruption has hamstrung investment in  Iraq's public services.

AFP
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