Egypt envoy: Cairo not behind decision to nix gas deal (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Nir Cohen, Attila Somfalvi Published: 04.23.12, 17:19)
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Ambassador Yasser Reda tells Deputy FM Ayalon decision to terminate
agreement to supply natural gas to Israel ´financial, not political´
Egypt´s ambassador to Israel and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
discussed on Monday the termination of Cairo´s agreement to supply
natural gas to Israel.
During the meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Ambassador
Yasser Reda, who was accompanied by his deputy, stressed that the
Egyptian government was not behind the decision to nix the deal,
adding that "it is a financial, not political matter."
Ayalon said in response that Israel expects Egypt to resolve the
dispute, adding that maintaining normal relations between Cairo and
Jerusalem was crucial for regional stability.
The gas pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan has
been sabotaged 14 times since the resignation of former President
Hosni Mubarak. The last explosion took place a few weeks ago near the
city of El-Arish.
The pipeline has been shut since an explosion on February 5.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of Israel Bonds
leaders on Monday, "We don´t see this cutoff of the gas as something
that is born out of political developments.
"It´s actually a business dispute between the Israeli company and the
Egyptian company," Netanyahu´s office quoted him as saying.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "The deal to supply gas is
not part of the peace deal, but it is an important commercial deal
that was an expression of the stable ties between the states.
"The unilateral cancellation of the deal is not a good sign, and we
hope that this dispute will be resolved like any other commercial
dispute, without taking it to the political realm," Lieberman told
public radio from Azerbaijan where he is on a visit.
On Sunday, Egypt said it had scrapped the 2005 gas export deal with
Israel, which generates 40% of its electricity from natural gas, with
Egypt providing 43% of its gas supplies. The balance comes from
Israel´s own Yam Thetis offshore gas field.
The accord with the East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), which
exports the gas to Israel, was cancelled "because the company failed
to respect conditions stipulated in the contract," Mohamed Shoeib,
head of the state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS)
The contract with Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Egypt in
1979, has always been controversial in the Arab world´s most populous
Agreed under the administration of ousted president Mubarak, it has
been challenged in the courts over its secretive clauses, with
opponents claiming Israel was paying below-market prices.
It was the largest ever trade deal between the two former foes.
AFP contributed to the report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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