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Nassib Crossing, gate to 30% of Lebanon’s exports, recaptured by Syrian army

9-7-2018

The Syrian Regime forces have regained control of the famous Nassib Crossing on the Syrian-Jordanian border closed since 2015, according to Al Akhbar. And since Lebanon urgently needs this sole overland route for Lebanon’s foreign trade, particularly to GCC countries, Iraq and Jordan, in order to reduce the high cost of transportation, Lebanon’s utilization of the crossing requires talks with the official Syrian authorities, Al Akhbar wrote. In this respect, the General Security Director General, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, has been in the past few months coordinating with the Syrian and Jordanian authorities to this effect, not by a formal mandate but always in consultation with President of the Republic Michel Aoun. This time however, Ibrahim is reluctant to act without an official dictate from the president or the government, Al Akhbar reported, citing informed sources as saying Syrians will not settle for less. Al Diyar newspaper, for its part, said the closure of Nassib Crossing has had a grave impact on Lebanese exporters, referring to estimates which proved the decline by 50% in the export of made-in-Lebanon goods to Arab Gulf states. On the other hand, Al Akhbar stressed that the crossing is vital for being a conduit for more than 550,000 tons of Lebanese agricultural products at a value of USD 300 million as well as, for industrial commodities at a value of more than USD 500 million, while noting that the total anticipated exports could near USD 800 million, amounting to 30% of Lebanon’s overall exports. Al Akhbar also indicated that exporting through Nassib requires from five to seven days for the arrival of goods to their destination as compared to 10 to 30 days via sea routes. On the subject, the head of the Beqaa Farmers’ Association, Ibrahim Tarshishi, grieved over the anguish of Lebanese farmers in the past three years during the closure of the Nassib Crossing. He also mentioned the satisfactory time needed for the arrival of goods to destination countries via the crossing as compared to alternative routes, urging the Lebanese government to step up negotiations with its Syrian counterpart to secure the access of Lebanese exports through Nassib. Likewise, the president of the Syndicate of Truck Owners in Lebanon said the crossing is of utmost importance to the country. (Al Diyar, Al Akhbar, July 9, 2018)

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