Israel's EU, Egypt gas deal does not hamper Türkiye talks: Expert

Now, where do we agree, we can't agree, what are our interests? We must find answers, says retired Ambassador Harari

Murat Temizer  | 16.06.2022 - Update : 16.06.2022
Israel's EU, Egypt gas deal does not hamper Türkiye talks: Expert


Europe is experiencing energy problems due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Israel, Egypt and the EU does not contradict the talks with Türkiye, said Michael Harari, retired ambassador and policy fellow at the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies (Mitvim) on Wednesday.

Harari told Anadolu Agency that Israeli natural gas will be sent to Egypt, where it will be liquefied and sent to Europe in LNG form.

Pointing out that there is a limited amount of gas to reach Europe within the scope of the said MoU, Harari said: "It is not an agreement that conflicts with the talks between Türkiye and Israel. What happened between the governments of the two countries before is a thing of the past. Now, where do we agree, we can't agree, what are our interests? We must find answers."

He said that a possible agreement between Türkiye and Israel should be evaluated in the long term.

"Europe's natural gas demand is increasing. The importance of this MoU is that it will encourage more investments for drilling in the region - and for Israel, it is on its EEZ - for more discoveries that will enable more exports. This will enable substantial Israeli-Turkish discussions," he said.

"Europe is also sending a political message with this MoU as it aims to reduce dependence on gas and oil from Russia," he added.

The aforementioned tripartite agreement in no way contradicts the talks with Türkiye, Harari said.

"The steps Türkiye and Israel have taken in recent months are very important and good. Both sides should understand the necessity of working together. We lost 10 years on this issue. The governments of the two countries should identify the problems and figure out how to solve them. In my opinion, both sides are taking the right steps. Am I hopeful? Yes, I am hopeful. We have to be realistic and positive. Only if we do so, can progress be made."

MoU signed on Wednesday

The EU, Israel, and Egypt signed an MoU on Wednesday to boost the Mediterranean gas exports.

As the EU aims to replace Russian natural gas, it is looking for an alternative source of supplies.

"This is a historic day for the EU’s energy engagement & energy security: signing the MoU with Egypt and Israel, two reliable, strategic partners," tweeted Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy.

Simson said that the EU will be able to count on LNG from Israel and the Mediterranean region via the Egyptian LNG infrastructure.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also said on Twitter that with this agreement the 3 parties will work on the stable delivery of natural gas to the EU from the East Med region.

"This will contribute to our energy security. And we are building infrastructure fit for renewables - the energy of the future," she said.

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