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Jordan pledges support for crisis-hit Lebanon

A handout picture released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on October 10, 2021 shows Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) receiving Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati at al-Husseiniya Palace in the capital Amman. (Photo by AFP)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has assured the Lebanese prime minister that his country will stand by Lebanon which is grappling with its worst-ever economic crisis amid power outages.

“Jordan will always stand by the side of Lebanon and its brotherly people,” the king was quoted as telling visiting Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Sunday.

Jordan’s official Petra News Agency said King Abdullah and Mikati met at the al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman.

Lebanon has been mired since 2019 in a deep economic crisis.

The World Bank has called Lebanon’s crisis one of the worst depressions of modern history, ranking it among the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s in terms of its effect on living standards. The country’s currency has lost more than 90% of its value since fall 2019, and more than half of the population has been rendered jobless as businesses have shut down. The crisis has forced nearly three quarters of the country’s six million inhabitants into poverty.

The crisis is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Lebanon as well as foreign intervention in the Arab nation’s domestic affairs.

Lebanon suffers power cuts for up to 22 hours a day and on Saturday the country was plunged into a total blackout after two main power stations went offline because they ran out of fuel.

The fuel needed to power private back-up generators is also in short supply, reports say.

Electricity Minister Walid Fayad said that two plants resumed work on Sunday after the Lebanese army provided them with emergency supplies of fuel.

Amman on Wednesday agreed to provide Lebanon with electricity via Syria.

Last month, Egypt also agreed to supply Lebanon with natural gas through Jordan and Syria to help ease Lebanon's power crisis.

At the end of his visit to Beirut on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian assured Lebanon of the Islamic Republic’s readiness to help it overcome the ongoing economic crisis.

The top Iranian diplomat reaffirmed Tehran’s readiness to continue sending fuel products to Lebanon, and expressed hope that a relevant bilateral agreement can be struck.

As the energy crisis escalated in August, Hezbollah resistance movement intervened and began importing Iranian fuel. Lebanon’s media outlets last month reported the arrival of a fifth shipment carrying Iranian fuel.

Mikati’s visit to Jordan is his first to an Arab country since he formed his cabinet last month.

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