´Natural gas exports will 1st go to Arab neighbors´ (JERUSALEM POST) By SHARON UDASIN 03/29/12)
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By exporting portions of its natural gas to the Palestinian Authority
and Jordan, Israel could help bridge relations on a broader level
with its neighbors, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said on
“Naturally, the immediate export of natural gas will be to our
neighbors the Palestinians and the Jordanians, and I believe that
this connection will be an important step in building trust and peace
in the region,” Landau said, according to his office.
The minister was speaking at The Economist magazine’s “Investment
Energy Summit – Greece, Cyprus, Israel: Redesigning the European
Energy Map” event, held in Athens on Wednesday and Thursday, in
cooperation with Greece’s Environment, Energy and Climate Change
Ministry; Cyprus’s Commerce, Industry and Tourism Ministry; the Greek-
Israeli Chamber of Commerce & Technology; and the Cyprus Chamber of
Commerce and Industry.
Addressing participants during the conference’s opening session,
Landau joined the energy and environment ministers of both Greece and
Cyprus. The three ministers later took part in an open discussion
about global challenges and the specific problems that the countries
in this region share, the ministry said.
For Israel in particular, there will be specific challenges as the
economy strives to cope with an entirely new, and extensive, addition
to the market, according to Landau.
“The energy market is expected to transfer to the most extensive use
of natural gas, opening the use of natural gas and its products, such
as methanol for transportation,” he said.
But the regional natural gas developments will not just be remarkable
for Israel’s energy security status – it will also be crucial to that
of its neighbors, and the relationships among the countries.
“We believe with deep conviction that this important development in
the Middle East will lead to a better future for our countries, as
well as for that of our neighbors,” Landau said.
“We are confident that in the Middle East, which at the moment is in
chaos, this partnership between Greece, Israel and Cyprus will create
a basis of stability that is very important for the region.”
Along these lines, Landau wished success to Cyprus and Greece in
their natural gas explorations, which are slated to begin next
month. “Your success is the success of the region,” he said.
As a testament to the increasingly high level of cooperation among
these three countries, Israel’s ambassador to Greece, Aryeh Mekel,
told Landau that six Israeli ministers have visited Greece in the
past year to create various partnerships, while 12 Greek ministers
have visited Israel, the ministry reported.
Later during the day, Landau signed a agreement with Greek
Environment, Energy and Climate Minister George Papaconstantinou for
cooperation between their two countries in the field of environmental
The agreement calls for exchanging knowledge and sharing expertise,
with particular emphasis on issues of water management, sewage
treatment and reuse, desalination, bio-gas and biomass production,
energy efficiency and other elements.
The ministerial meetings occurring in Athens indicate a tightening of
relations between the three countries, particularly on issues of
energy and environmental importance, many of which have arisen from
their mutual natural gas discoveries, according to the ministry.
Earlier this month, Landau and officials from the other two countries
signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of an
electric cable from Israel to Cyprus to Greece, which will allow for
redundancy, reciprocal backup, security and long-term domestic energy
for all the parties involved, the ministry said. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 03/29/12)
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