Lebanon ready to work with Cyprus on potential offshore gas

Lebanon ready to work with Cyprus on potential offshore gas
Cyprus’ foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides shakes hands with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib before their meeting at the foreign ministry house in Nicosia on Friday. (AP)
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Updated 15 April 2022

Lebanon ready to work with Cyprus on potential offshore gas

Lebanon ready to work with Cyprus on potential offshore gas
  • Cyprus and Lebanon signed an agreement delineating their respective offshore exclusive economic zones in 2007
  • The Lebanese top diplomat’s remarks come as Europe is seeking new energy sources to wean itself off Russian gas in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

NICOSIA, Cyprus: Lebanon is ready to work with Cyprus to exploit potential gas deposits in waters between the two east Mediterranean countries, Lebanon’s top diplomat said Friday, even though a deal on offshore rights hasn’t been formally finalized.
Cyprus and Lebanon signed an agreement delineating their respective offshore exclusive economic zones in 2007, but the Lebanese parliament has yet to ratify it amid the country’s ongoing maritime border dispute with Israel.
Nevertheless, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart in Nicosia that “with Cyprus there’s no problem, once we found gas we’re ready to go, put it together.”
“We talked about it and I can assure you that Lebanon is ready to do it,” Bou Habib said.
The Lebanese top diplomat’s remarks come as Europe is seeking new energy sources to wean itself off Russian gas in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Cyprus has issued exploration drilling licenses to ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum, a consortium made up of French energy company Total and Italy’s Eni, as well as Chevron and partner Shell, to most of its 13 segments in its exclusive economic zone off its southern coast.
To the north, Cyprus faces an intense challenge from Turkey which claims much of the island’s EEZ as its own and has sent warship-escorted survey ships into the area — earning condemnation from the European Union, of which Cyprus is a member.
Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. The breakaway Turkish Cypriot north is only recognized by Turkey.
Lebanon’s Bou Habib said a US written mediation proposal submitted earlier this year that aimed at resolving the Lebanese-Israeli dispute, while much better than previous attempts, is “not enough yet.”
He said both Lebanon’s government and its lawmakers are “all in agreement” on what they seek from a deal with Israel.
“Therefore the response to the Americans hopefully would be soon and it would be one response,” Bou Habib said.
Any discoveries within Lebanon’s own economic zone would be a long-term boon for the crisis-hit country’s beleaguered economy.
Lebanon’s economic crisis has been described by the World Bank as one of the world’s worst since the 1850s. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs since October 2019 and the Lebanese pound lost more than 90 percent of its value.


Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation
Updated 35 min 48 sec ago

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation
  • Navy boats and Lebanese Civil Defense teams responded to assist the stricken vessel

BEIRUT: The crew of a Lebanese Army speed cruiser that was taking part in a security operation off Al-Saadiyat coast on Thursday had to be rescued after their vessel caught fire, according to a statement by the army.

Later it was revealed that seven crew members were saved from the burning vessel.
Other navy boats and Lebanese Civil Defense teams responded to assist the stricken vessel and help put out the fire.

No casualties were reported.


Iraq to supply Lebanon with fuel for electricity for another year: Lebanese PM

Iraq to supply Lebanon with fuel for electricity for another year: Lebanese PM
Updated 7 sec ago

Iraq to supply Lebanon with fuel for electricity for another year: Lebanese PM

Iraq to supply Lebanon with fuel for electricity for another year: Lebanese PM
  • Iraq has agreed to renew a one-year deal to provide Lebanon with fuel for its power plants in exchange for in-kind services, Lebanon’s Najib Mikati says
  • Iraq signed an agreement in July 2021 to give cash-strapped Lebanon one million tons of fuel oil to help keep the lights on

BEIRUT: Iraq’s government has agreed to continue supplying Lebanon’s electricity company with heavy fuel oil for another year in exchange for in-kind services, Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister said on Thursday, alleviating pressure on Lebanon’s struggling power grid.
Najib Mikati said he had made the request to Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who agreed to extend the same terms of the agreement signed last year.
Iraq signed an agreement in July 2021 to give cash-strapped Lebanon one million tons of fuel oil to help keep the lights on, in exchange for services including health care for Iraqi citizens, as the country grapples with power cuts up to 23 hours a day during an unprecedented economic crisis.
“The Iraqi government, headed by Mr.Mustafa Al-Kadhemi, approved in a meeting today... to extend the supply of fuel to Lebanon... for a period of one year, under the same conditions as before,” Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s office said in a statement.
For the past year, Lebanon’s power plants have depended on the deal with Iraq to produce one to two hours of electricity per day.
Residents in the poverty-stricken country largely rely on expensive private generators for power the rest of the time.
The Iraqi oil cannot be used directly by Lebanon’s power stations, so Beirut will continue to buy compatible fuel from other providers which will receive the Iraqi oil in exchange.
At the time of signing, last year’s deal was worth $300-$400 million, Raymond GHajjar, the Energy minister at the time had said.
As fuel prices shot up, the deal is now worth an estimated $570 million, Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayad told AFP last month.
An Iraqi ministerial delegation is expected to visit Beirut shortly to agree on the in-kind services that Baghdad wants in return for the fuel, Fayad said.
Iraq is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) but suffers from its own electricity shortages.
Lebanon is battling one of the planet’s worst economic crises since the 1850s, and the state-run electricity company faces dire cash shortages.
(With AFP and Reuters)


UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports
Updated 11 August 2022

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports
  • Part of efforts to use technology in reinforcing identification of personal identity and eliminating forgery

DUBAI: The UAE will issue a new generation of Emirati passports from Sept. 1, authorities said on Thursday.

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) said the new passports, equipped with the latest technologies, will have advanced security features.

 

 

The new-generation passports are part of efforts to use technology in reinforcing identification of personal identity and eliminating forgery or fraud, according to Ali Muhammad Al-Shamsi, Chairman of ICP, in a report from state news agency WAM.

The complex security specifications feature a polycarbonate introduction page, laser technologies and “three-dimensional tangible elements.”

Authorities said holders of the current passports can still use their travel document until expiry.


Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam
Updated 11 August 2022

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam
  • Cairo, Khartoum fear it will reduce their share of Nile waters
  • Egypt says it will take all necessary measures to protect national security

CAIRO: In a letter to the UN Security Council, Egypt has warned of cracks in the concrete facade of the sub-dam linked to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Cairo said this is particularly alarming due to Ethiopia’s failure to comply with its duty to conduct the required environmental and socioeconomic impact studies.

The letter, sent to the UNSC president, said Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Aty had received a message about Ethiopia’s intention to unilaterally resume filling the GERD during the current rainy season.

Abdel-Aty said Ethiopia’s decision comes in the absence of an agreement between it and Egypt and Sudan on the rules governing the filling and operation of the dam, constituting a violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries.

He stressed that Cairo holds Ethiopia fully responsible for any significant harm that may be caused to Egypt by these repeated violations.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the country reserves its right guaranteed in the UN Charter to take all necessary measures to ensure and protect its national security, including against any harm that Ethiopia’s unilateral measures may cause.

The GERD has raised tensions between Ethiopia on one hand and Egypt and Sudan on the other.

The latter two countries are demanding a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam, which they fear will reduce their share of the Nile’s waters.

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UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey
Updated 11 August 2022

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey
  • 4-year-old George Jack Temperley-Wells visited Antalya with his mother to see his father

LONDON: Police in the UK have asked for help to locate a 4-year-old boy who is thought to be missing after traveling to Turkey.

George Jack Temperley-Wells is believed to have gone to visit his father Scott Nigel Wells in the city of Antalya on June 29 with his mother Brogan Elizabeth Temperley. Antalya is a popular summer holiday destination for Britons.

Durham Police said anyone in contact with Temperley should notify authorities in Turkey or the UK immediately with information on her whereabouts, adding that they have serious concerns for the welfare of her son.

The police said the boy has red hair, a pale complexion and dark eyes, while his mother is described as being slim with long dark hair and dark eyes.

The force released two images of the trio dining in the area at a restaurant recently, where they were seen smiling together.

People in Turkey with information should visit their nearest police station or call 112/115. Anyone in the UK with information should contact Durham Constabulary on 101, and quote the incident number 325 for June 30.