Arab states and Turkey have formally accepted Lebanon's membership in a regional power-sharing club and tentatively endorsed Libya's adhesion, Jordan's Energy minister said late Tuesday.
Wael Sabri said Lebanon was officially accepted and Libya "in principle" at the end of two days of talks between the electricity and energy ministers of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.
Lebanon, which attended the talks along with Libya, has been suffering chronic power shortages due to the destruction of many key power stations and relays in Israeli air raids and damage incurred during the Lebanese war.
Egypt and Jordan form the cornerstone of a power grid, which is to eventually link the Middle East, North Africa and Europe through Turkey, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Spain and Italy.
Amman and Cairo linked their power grids in October 1999 and inaugurated formally the undersea link-up at an official ceremony in March 1999 attended by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II.
Preparations are underway to finalize a much-delayed link-up between Jordan and Syria and the line should be operational "soon", officials from both countries said this week.
Syria and Turkey are expected to be linked by the end of the year, he added.
The second stage of the project to connect Syria and Iraq, Iraq and Turkey and Syria and Lebanon should be completed in 2001.
The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development is helping to finance part of the scheme, which is aimed at providing cheaper and more abundant energy to member countries – AMMAN (AFP)
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