EIB Grants Syria $100 Million Loan for Electricity Project
The European Investment Bank on Monday granted Syria a loan amounting to approximately $100 million to help improve the electricity network in the Arab country, according to agencies.
The loan is the second since December when the bank approved a loan to Syria of approximately $65 million, in a move that re-launched the bank's activities in Syria after that Arab country settled its debts to Germany -- a problem which contributed to the freezing of EIB operations in Syria since 1992.
The agreement was signed by Syrian Planning Minister Issam al-Zaim and Antonello Pugliese, an EIB investment official for the Middle East and Balkan regions.
The loan was expected to be used to construct electricity lines as part of a project to build 40 stations across Syria, the United Press International (UPI) news agency quoted Minister of Electricity Munib Saem al-Dahr as saying. The minister said that the EIB would offer a new grant amounting to almost $8 million as "independent assistance from the European Union to reform Syria's electricity sector."
Al-Dahr said the grant agreement would be signed Friday during a visit to Damascus by EU President Romano Prodi.
The EIB Pugliese said the loan was "very important, because it is the EIB's biggest project in the Mediterranean,” according to UPI.
Syria and the EIB have been engaged in negotiations since 1998 to conclude a partnership accord that would result in the establishment of a free-trade zone.
The European Investment Bank, the European Union's financing institution, implements the financial components of agreements concluded under European development aid and cooperation policies – Albawaba.com
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