Aqaba in Jordan to benefit as Lebanon-Syria border shut

Lebanon to route Middle East exports via Aqaba in Jordan after closing Syrian border
Aqaba port will become Lebanon's sole link to the Middle East market following closure of Syrian border
Aqaba port will become Lebanon's sole link to the Middle East market following closure of Syrian border

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Lebanon is planning to open to an "alternative" maritime export route to regional markets via the Red Sea Port of Aqaba after the closure of the Jordanian-Syrian border, a vital lifeline for Lebanese land trade with regional countries, according to Lebanese sources quoted by Petra, the national news agency.

Jordan closed the border after Syrian rebels seized the Nasib border post in a recent escalation in Syria's civil war that saw gunmen kidnapping Lebanese truck drivers and confiscating cargo intended for export.

The Lebanese government last week tasked agriculture minister Akram Shahib with drawing up a plan regarding the Beirut-Aqaba maritime route for discussion by the cabinet on Thursday. The Lebanese government is expected to approve the new maritime route through Aqaba, from where Lebanese exports will have access to Arab markets.

According to sources, the Lebanese government will cover the extra transport costs of the new maritime conduit.

"Jordan is a key link between Lebanon and Arab countries, and with the closure of the Nasib crossing, we can say that the land export option is almost completely shut down, at least for the foreseeable future," said Ibrahim Tarshishi, president of the Jordanian farmers association, speaking to Petra in a telephone interview.

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