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Egyptian President Al-Sissi Defends Controversial Gas Deal With Israel

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi has said an arrangement to import gas from Israel will help make Egypt a provincial center point for petroleum gas, safeguarding an arrangement that has started contention at home.

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Al-Sissi said Mediterranean countries that discovered gas, whether Cyprus, Lebanon or Israel, had the choice of getting it processed either in Turkey, the countries that own the field or Egypt.

“We have the facilities to process the gas which are not found in many countries in the eastern Mediterranean region or at least in the countries where the gas fields were discovered,’’ Al-Sissi said.

On Monday, Israeli gas company Delek Drilling announced a deal to export approximately 15 billion dollars’ worth of natural gas to Egypt.

The deal, was praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Delek as “historic.’’

It however sparked outrage among Egyptians who were promised by al-Sissi’s government that Egypt would achieve self-sufficiency in gas after the offshore Zohr gas field started production late 2017.

“We have nothing to hide; the government is not a party to the deal of importing gas from Israel.

“It was done by the private sector,’’ Al-Sissi said during the inauguration of a centre to serve investors in southern Egypt.

He added that the government allows the private sector to import and process gas using these facilities in return for money.

Al-Sissi is virtually certain to win a second presidential term in elections set for March 26 and March 28.

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Written by PH

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