Lavrov explained when receiving his Lebanese number that Russia’s decision to hand over satellite photos of the port of Beirut was aimed at “helping to investigate the causes of the explosion.” The Russian Foreign Minister clarified that these satellite photos were taken in the spring of 2020, several months before the tragedy and in the aftermath of the August 4 bombings.
An explosion of large quantities of ammonium nitrate, which had been stored for many years in the port of Beirut without precautionary measures, killed more than 215 people and destroyed the entire suburbs of the Lebanese capital. “Roscosmos researchers and experts can understand from the nature of the catastrophe what it is and what can be linked to this tragedy,” Lavrov said.
A few days after the catastrophic eruption, Lebanon asked France for images taken by its surveillance satellites. Paris responded by saying that its satellites were not operating in the port area during the tragedy. The United States did not help much either.
In the absence of satellite images, the hypothesis of an Israeli missile attack erupted for months. A theory was reinforced by what appeared to be the roar of a plane heard by some of Beirut residents just seconds before the twin explosions.
Satellite images taken during the tragedy may have shed light on what actually happened on August 4, 2020. This is not the case in the photos provided by Russia. As Vladimir Putin admitted in late October, they will not be of much use in advancing the investigation.
Today, the dissertation on accident caused by the negligence of political and executive leaders seems to have gained prominence. However, it is necessary to wait until the indictment is clear.
With this gesture of goodwill, Russia wants to position itself on the list of countries interested in rebuilding the multi-billion dollar Beirut port. Possibilities were also raised between the two ministers to “see Russian companies participating in the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged following the explosions.”
The first decision of the Lebanese Foreign Minister’s visit to Moscow was made by the Russian natural gas producer Novatek, which announced plans to drill a new well in the Lebanese continent early next year.
The talks focused on the activities of companies Novatek and Rosneft, companies Lvrov-Bou Habib aimed at improving the energy sector in Lebanon, said the head of Russian diplomacy. Among other things, this includes the development of an oil terminal owned by Rosneft at a port in the country.
Novatek entered Lebanon in January 2018 as part of a Total-led consortium with the participation of ENI. As part of the first maritime licensing cycle launched by the Lebanese government in January 2017, the country signed research and production agreements covering Volumes 4 and 9 off the Lebanese coast east of the Mediterranean.
However, Block 9 is the subject of a border issue between Lebanon and Israel. Currently, the two countries have resumed talks on demarcation. The planned drilling for 2019 is still planned, but has been postponed due to the Kovit-19 epidemic and instability in Lebanon.
Rosneft has a 20-year agreement with Lebanon to manage the oil storage terminal at Tripoli, the most important port in the north of the country.
The Russian minister also hoped that the new Lebanese government would succeed in ending the political-institutional crisis, adding that Russian companies were ready to rebuild the port of Beirut, which was devastated by the double explosion in 2020, and to recover its energy sector.
Due to problems with the fuel supply, the Lebanese National Electricity Board (EDL) reduced the supply of electricity to the population to a minimum in the summer, providing only a few hours of electricity a day. The power outage lasted until 10pm daily. Two major power plants in the country have come to a standstill.
According to the World Bank, the country is facing one of the worst economic crises in the world since 1850. In fact, the Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value against the dollar in the black market. The cuts have disrupted business operations, hospitals and public services. As government subsidies fall, so do fuel prices and protests, and there are queues at petrol stations. Individuals and businesses are actively dependent on fuel-powered generators.
Against the backdrop of the historic devaluation of the national currency and the drying up of foreign currencies, the state has been struggling to import fuel. The purchasing power of the people has also fallen due to inflation.
The AFP recalls that the comprehensive reform of the electricity sector, which has cost the state more than $ 40 billion since the end of the Civil War (1975-1990), is one of the long-standing demands of the international community for significant assistance. But the cabinet, which resigned in the wake of the August 4, 2020 terror bombing in Beirut, did not ‘fail’ until the end of September 2021, when endless negotiations between the political parties were formed. Need to create a new team.