Arab, Turkish Electricity and Energy Ministers Meet on Power Sharing

Published May 15th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Ministers of electricity and energy from six Arab countries and Turkey gathered Monday in Jordan to discuss regional power-sharing, officials said. 

The two-day meeting brings together cabinet ministers and top officials from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Turkey as part of a scheme to link their national power grids, they said. 

Participants are expected to endorse Lebanon's formal membership in the project as well as discuss Libya's request to join the group, the director of Jordan's national electricity company told Al-Rai newspaper last week. 

Mohammad Azzam said Lebanon, which has been suffering chronic power shortages due to the destruction of many of its key power stations and relays in Israeli air raids, was expected to sign a membership agreement. 

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, Moroccoa, 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", Azzam told Al-Rai. 

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 -- when the north African countries are also due to be linked, Azzam added. 

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 - (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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