Egypt offers to sell gas to Israel at new price (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Samer al-Atrush 04/23/12)
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A senior Egyptian minister said on Monday her country is ready to
resume gas exports to Israel but at a new price, after scrapping a
International Cooperation Minister "Fayza Abul Naga said the Egyptian
side had no objections to reaching a new contract with new conditions
and a new price," the official MENA news agency reported.
Egypt annulled the contract last Thursday, saying Israel had not met
the conditions of a gas export accord signed in 2005. Egypt supplies
roughly 40 percent of Israel´s gas supplies.
Abul Naga said Israel had been notified five times that it was not
meeting its financial obligations under the old contract.
Egypt´s electricity and fuel minister, Hassan Yunis, said earlier
that the natural gas being exported to Israel under the controversial
15-year deal would instead be used domestically.
"The gas that used to be exported to Israel will be directed to
Egyptian electricity plants, as we have more right to it," he told
The gas contract with Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Egypt
in 1979, was the largest trade deal between the two former foes and
has always been controversial in the Arab world´s most populous
Bedouin militants have bombed the gas pipeline -- which also supplies
Jordan -- in Egypt´s Sinai peninsula 14 times since a popular
uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Mubarak now faces corruption charges, along with murder charges in a
trial, over the gas contract, which critics said allowed Israel to
buy gas at a low price and profited corrupt officials.
Israel downplayed the political significance of the cancellation on
Monday, calling it a "commercial dispute" with no impact on
diplomatic relations with Egypt.
"We don´t see this cutoff of the gas as something that is born out of
political developments," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a
meeting of heads of the Israel Bonds fundraising organisation.
"It´s actually a business dispute between the Israeli company and the
Egyptian company," Netanyahu´s office quoted him as saying.
A spokesman for Netanyahu insisted the agreement was still intact on
"The gas supply deal between Israel and Egypt has not been cancelled.
There is a legal dispute between Israeli and Egyptian companies,"
said spokesman Ofir Gendelman in a message posted on Twitter.
Exports to Israel were launched in 2008, three years after the accord
which came in for heavy criticism at the time from Egypt´s then
banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt´s parliament, now dominated by the Brotherhood, and ruling
military cabinet have sought to be more assertive towards Israel,
distancing themselves from Mubarak´s close ties with the Jewish state.
Last year, protesters ransacked the reception of the Israeli embassy,
forcing its closure. Israel has since been unable to find new grounds
for a mission in Cairo.
Jordan said on Monday that cut-offs in Egyptian gas supplies because
of the pipeline attacks could cost it more than $2 billion this year.
Gas supplies from Egypt plunged from 300 million cubic metres a day
in 2009 to 78 million cubic metres in 2011, said Jordan´s Electricity
Regulatory Commission head Ahmad Hyasat. (Copyright © 2012 Agence
France Presse. 04/23/12)
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