BEIRUT – French Transportation Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari signed a memorandum to provide Lebanon with 50 buses in a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart and Prime Minister Mikati on Thursday at the Grand Serail, according to the National News Agency.
Here’s what we know:
• During the meeting Mikati said Lebanon “counts on benefitting from France's expertise with the aim to promote this vital [transportation] sector, which eases the burdens of a large segment of Lebanese in various regions. We also count on French support in developing other vital facilities, especially the Port of Beirut.” Djebbari promised to visit Beirut port with the Prime Minister.
• Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamieh said that the state owns 45 buses, and the French government will provide 50 more, adding that one-third of the buses would operate within Beirut and two-thirds between Beirut and the North, South, and Bekaa.
• Minister Hamieh said that the French had expressed their “willingness to help us in drawing up a legal framework for partnership between the public and private sectors, so that the state becomes the regulator and the private sector becomes the operator.” He added that a joint committee of Lebanese and French will be formed to discuss aviation safety at Rafik Hariri International Airport.