As Lebanon suffers a fuel shortage and threatened foreign currency reserves, the country inked a deal with Iraq to secure fuel in exchange for medical expertise.
According to NNA, Lebanon’s caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan and Iraq‘s Health Minister Hassan Tamimi have signed a “framework agreement” for the trade of Lebanese medical services in exchange for fuel supplies from Iraq.
Speaking to AFP, Lebanon’s caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajjar said that the deal will secure 500,000 tons of Iraqi oil annually (a sixth of its needs).
Meanwhile, Lebanese medical teams may train and manage health clinics and medical facilities in Iraq, where the health sector is suffering the blow of the pandemic and decades of war.
The exchange will add to the health professionals who have fled the country in search of opportunities elsewhere. Over 1,000 doctors have already left Lebanon due to the economic crisis.
After the blast, Iraq donated over a million liters of fuel to Lebanon to be used for electricity production which, after examination, ended up being unsuitable, according to the Energy Ministry back then.
It is unclear yet if the 500,000 tons of Iraqi oil that Lebanon will receive annually will be suitable for or compatible with local power plants.
After two of the country’s power plants (Zahrani and Deir Ammar) were recently forced to shut down for running out of fuel, Lebanon is holding on to hope that this exchange will help keep the lights on.
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