Netanyahu sends envoy to discuss suspended natural gas deals
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - REUTERS
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CAIRO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that he has agreed with Egyptian authorities to send Cairo a special envoy to negotiate the Geneva-based International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) arbitration ruling ordering Cairo to pay $1.76 billion in compensation to Israel over halting the export of natural gas.

“I’m sure that we going to find a solution because both countries have mutual strategic interests, including the gas one,” Netanyahu said during his meeting Economic Affairs Committee of the Knesset Tuesday.

The Egyptian government ordered Sunday the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to freeze any negotiations between the Egyptian and Israeli companies over exporting gas from Israeli fields pending issuance clarification on the international arbitrary decision.

The EGPC and the EGAS announced Sunday that they will appeal the ICC ruling, according to a joint statement.

On Nov. 29, Egypt has signed a primarily contract with Israel to export natural gas from Israeli Leviathan offshore gas field for 20 years. Reuters reported that Israel gas companies announced that they would push ahead the negotiation to export Egypt natural gas.

ICC ruling issued Sunday upon a complaint filed by the Israel Electric Corp and East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG) the EGPC  and EGAS , saying they “suffering damages” due to the repeated explosions of North Sinai’s Arish gas pipeline that feeds Jordan and Israel since the January 25, 2011 Revolution.

The Israeli Electric Crop has asked for $1.5 billion in compensation, but it was awarded   $288 million; meanwhile, the EMG was awarded $1.7 billion although it has asked for $3.8 billion, the statement noted.

The Israeli company and EMA have contracted with the Egyptian companies to export the gas from Egypt to Israel for 20 years.

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