Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abul Naga said on Monday that Egypt is prepared to resume gas exports to Israel, but at new rates, after unilaterally canceling its previous, long-term contract, signed in 2005.
The official MENA news agency reported that Egypt had no objections to signing a new contract, with new conditions.
Abul Naga said Israel had been told five times prior to the cancellation of the contract that it was not living up to its obligations.
This is a diversion from an earlier statement by Egypt’s electricity and fuel minister Hassan Yunis, who said originally that the natural gas being diverted from Israel was going to 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,” Yunis told reporters.
The Israeli side of the dispute had kept its cool since the original Egyptian announcement, maintaining that there was a businesslike solution to the crisis.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that he was hoping the dispute would be solved in a business environment, and that relations between the two countries would return to normal.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of Israel Bonds leaders on Monday that he did not “see this gas cutoff as something that is born out of political developments. This is actually a business dispute between the Israeli company and the Egyptian company.”
Netanyahu also promised on Monday that the Jewish state possesses “gas reserves that will make Israel totally energy independent, not only from Egypt, but from any other source, and which will turn Israel into one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas. So we are quite confident on that score.”Tibbi Singer
About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.
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