BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – Iraq has signed an agreement allowing the Lebanese government to pay for 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil a year in goods and services, helping Lebanon ease its power shortage, the two sides have confirmed.
Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi and Lebanese caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar co-signed the agreement in the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Lebanese officials have said the Iraqi supplies will ease the situation at home.
Ghajar, speaking on his return to Beirut after signing the deal, said the fuel would be used for electricity generation and was enough for four months. He said it was worth about $300m to $400m.
Iraq’s Oil Ministry said in a statement it would supply Lebanon with surplus heavy fuel oil from its refineries.
Lebanon plunged into a political vacuum in August 2020, when the previous administration, led by then Prime Minister Hassan Diab, resigned following a devastating explosion at the port in Beirut that destroyed parts of the capital and left more than 200 people dead.
As Lebanon struggles on through its long-drawn-out political stalemate, Hezbollah says it demands formation of a cabinet of ministers that serves the country’s people rather than its politicians.
Chairman of the Lebanese resistance movement’s Political Council, Ibrahim Amine al-Sayyed made the remarks on Saturday, reported Lebanon’s al-Ahed news website.
It is the trouble-ridden country’s public that should benefit from such a cabinet, instead of its political elite, he noted.
“Hezbollah tries its utmost to end the humiliation and insult against the people, and does not begrudge any effort towards this purpose,” the official noted.
Foreign intervention and disagreement among Lebanon’s political camps have been preventing one caretaker government after another from paving the way for the formation of an official cabinet.
Interim Prime Minister Saad Hariri was the last one to stop short of the goal, submitting his resignation earlier this month.