Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/14/2022
Ambassador Shea Assuages Concerns Over Sanctions
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea handed PM Najib Mikati a letter from the US Treasury Department aimed at answering, “some of the concerns the Lebanese authorities had regarding regional energy agreements that the United States helped facilitate between Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.” [Reuters]
Lebanese Foreign Minister Discusses Upcoming Delegation to Turkey with Ambassador Ulusoy
Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib met with Turkey’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Baris Ulusoy, to discuss an upcoming Lebanese delegation trip to Turkey headed by Prime Minister Mikati among other topics, including their bilateral cooperation as well as the prospects of increased Turkish tourism to Lebanon. [MTV]
BDL Governor: Banks to Continue Buying Dollars at Sayrafa Rate, Black Market Exchange Improves
Following the Central Bank’s Tuesday circular declaring that banks are now allowed to buy US dollars from BDL unlimitedly in Lebanese pounds at the exchange rate set by the Sayrafa platform, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh confirmed the continuation of this policy today. According to Naharnet, “the dollar was trading for LBP 27,750 on the black market around 1pm Friday, down from around LBP 31,000 the previous day.” [Naharnet]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Will Archeology Become Another Fatality Of Lebanon’s Dysfunction?
AbiNader writes, ”Yes, Lebanon’s heritage is not limited to just Baalbek, Byblos, Sidon, and Tyre. Its heritage of historical riches is grounded in so much more and yet our knowledge of it has only gotten us a few layers deep. Without concerted efforts by the national and municipal governments, this trend of depriving Lebanon of its many roots will continue.”
A Breakdown of Lebanon’s Deepening Dependence on Diesel Fuel for Private Generators
Szakola writes, “The costs of the generator sector extend past the billions of dollars spent on fuel imports. Just as generators produce electricity at a more expensive rate than EDL’s power plants, they also are comparatively more polluting than the state power utility. EDL’s aging plants are not free from criticism over pollution either, with Greenpeace in 2018 ranking Jounieh as the fifth most air polluted city in the world, due in part to the nearby Zouk power plant that runs on fuel oil. Still, a group of researchers at the American University of Beirut said in late October, ‘If EDL took over all the electricity coverage like it is supposed to, pollutant emissions would be lower than the generator alternative.’ The researchers warned that toxic emissions could increase by 300 percent amid the collapse of EDL’s power supply; causing an estimated annual increase of about 550 cancer cases while adding at least $8 million to the Lebanese people’s health bills.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.