Informed sources have told Arabi 21 that the Cypriot President who arrived in Egypt today will discuss with the authorities the possibility of shipping Israeli gas to Egypt via Cyprus, the host of the agreement.
The sources pointed out that shipping Israeli gas to Egypt will be via Cypriot mediation in order to avoid the embarrassment of exporting Israeli gas directly to Egypt in the shadow of the current political upheavals witnessed by Egypt since the coup.
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The Egyptian energy minister did state several days ago that his country was looking into the possibility of importing gas from Cyprus. Energy specialists doubted this at the time because Cyprus will not be able to export gas for another ten years; in fact, Cyprus is still importing its own gas requirements from abroad.
It is likely that Cyprus will soon sign a contract with the Israeli government and the U.S. Noble company to import gas from Israel. According to statements made by Israeli infrastructure minister Silvan Shalom, Israel is seeking to export gas to neighbouring Arab countries that are in need of energy because this will maximise benefits for Israel due to the low cost of transport. This is particularly so at this time when Asian markets are witnessing tough competition for energy resources.
In a press conference he held in Rome several days ago with the Italian minister of economic development, Shalom said that his country is seeking to export gas to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. He added that such a deal would have to include giving Israel the right to use Egypt’s gas liquefaction plants so as to enable Israel to export as much as possible of its gas equally to the Arab countries and Europe.
It would seem there is an agreement on the Israeli side over the importance of agreeing with Egypt on this issue. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Globes, former Israeli minister of infrastructure Binyamin Eleizer called for giving priority to exporting gas to neighbouring Arab states while also stressing the necessity of having access to the Egyptian gas liquefaction plant located in the city of Dumyat.
The Cypriot press confirmed that talks between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Egyptian President Adly Mansour would cover the issue of gas, though no further details were given. On the other hand, the Egyptian press avoided any discussion of the subject and simply said that the two presidents would discuss economic cooperation and bilateral relations.