Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz made an exceptional trip to the Egyptian capital Cairo on Sunday to take part in a conference on natural gas, airport sources announced.
Egypt : Israeli Energy Minister invited for a conference in Cairo
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz arrived in Cairo on Sunday to attend a conference during a rare visit to Egypt by an Israeli official, according to airport sources.
This visit is part of the gas agreements that Cairo has been ratifying since 2015 with its Eastern Mediterranean neighbours, since the discovery of the Zohr gas mega field, the largest in the region with a capacity of 850 billion cubic metres of recoverable gas.
Egypt officially invited Yuval Steinitz to a conference on natural gas
Visits by Israeli officials to the Pharaohs’ country are very rare, although Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries to maintain diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv. However, these relations remain limited and discreet, as the majority of Egyptian’s opinion is opposed to the normalisation of these links with Israel before any resolution of the conflict between the Hebrew State and the Palestinian Authority.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Energy, the Egyptian government has invited Yuval Steinitz to participate in a conference on natural gas, an energy source that has recently become a major economic and strategic issue in the eastern Mediterranean with new discoveries in Egypt, Greece and Israel.
Egyptian army is “working with Israel” against terrorists in northern Sinai
“You have here for the first time, a real economic cooperation between the states of the axis of peace,” Yuval Steinitz told Israeli army radio before his departure for Cairo.
Israeli ministers’ visits to Egypt are rare (the last one took place in January 2017, when Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel was invited to participate in a Mediterranean conference on gender equality).
In an interview broadcasted on January 6th by the American channel CBS, Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al Sisi revealed that his army was working with Israel against terrorists in northern Sinai. Egypt has recently concluded various gas agreements with its neighbours.
Last February, the Egyptian and Israeli governments signed an agreement to transfer natural gas from the Israeli Tamar and Leviathan fields to Egyptian territory. “Yuval Steinitz’s invitation to the conference in Egypt is a positive consequence of the gas agreement”, a source close to the Israeli official stated.