Lebanese minister in Damascus for talks on Arab gas pipeline

Other News Materials 24 February 2008 21:02 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Lebanon's transport and public works minister Mohammed Safadi, who is also acting Water and Energy Minister, in the western-backed government, participated Sunday in a meeting of the Arab Gas Pipeline project in the Syrian capital.

Sources close to Safadi said the minister's visit to Damascus came within the framework of periodic meetings of the six-nation Arab Gas Pipeline project that includes - in addition to Lebanon and Syria - Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.

The sources said Safadi had informed anti-Syrian Prime Minister Fouad Seniora's government of the invitation and that the cabinet approved his visit.

Syria's relations with Lebanon has been tense since the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. Hariri's allies and Lebanon's anti-Syrian camp blamed Syria for his death, a charge Damascus has vehemently denied.

The Syrian news agency ( SANA) said the oil and energy ministers of the Arab states participating in the Arab Gas Pipeline will put the final touches on the project and will review mechanisms for following-up its implementation.

Syria's Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Sufian Allaw told a news conference following the meeting that Syria has agreed with Egypt to "supply gas across the Arab gas pipeline by preferential prices" as of March 21 after completion of the required tests, the report said.

"Syria has completed the branch of the Arab gas pipeline dedicated to transport the Egyptian gas to Lebanon except for some simple technical works," Allaw said.

He said Lebanon will start receiving gas by mid 2008 when an agreement between Lebanon and Egypt is completed.