The Egyptian Suez Canal Authority (SCA) on Friday denied reaching an agreement with an Israeli company to manage its services and decided to take legal action against those spreading the rumour.
A statement by the authority denied the news: “In response to the information that was circulated on some anonymous personal accounts on social media regarding the canal signing a contract with a company to manage its services through a 99-year contract.”
The SCA statement came the day after an alleged contract was circulated on social media platforms, with those posting it claiming that it is a contract between the Egyptian government and an Israeli company to manage the canal’s services. The controversy increased after the confirmation by Israeli journalist Edy Cohen.
Chair of the SCA Lieutenant-General Osama Rabie confirmed in a statement: “These rumours are completely and utterly untrue.”
He affirmed: “Egypt’s absolute political and economic sovereignty in managing, operating and maintaining the navigational facility of the Suez Canal. All contracts the authority has entered cannot affect Egyptian sovereignty in any way over the canal and all its facilities, which are protected by the Constitution.”
He stressed: “All necessary legal measures will be taken by the concerned authorities against these accounts” and warned against “creating confusion and undermining the status of the economic canal in local and international circles.”
On Thursday, journalist Cohen tweeted: “As I said earlier, the Suez Canal concession contract is 99 years and given to an Israeli company,” posting an image of a document from the alleged contract.
On Friday, Cohen stuck to his position, posting new images he claimed were documents from the contract before he published the SCA’s denial later that evening. Commentators accused him of spreading rumours.
On 11 January, Cohen angered Egyptians after calling for Egypt to sell the canal to Israel to pay off its foreign debt.
The alleged circulated contract has sparked widespread controversy on social media, between supporters rejecting it and scepticism from opponents of the authorities. This coincided with the Suez Canal’s announcement on Thursday that it recorded revenues amounting to $802 million during January 2023, the highest monthly revenue in its history.