Egypt Offers to Sell Gas to Israel at New Price

Senior Egyptian minister says Israel was notified five times that it wasn't meeting its financial obligations; Israeli, Egyptian leaders stress cancelation of gas deal is not result of political dispute.

A senior Egyptian minister said Monday that Israel is welcome to negotiate a new contract with Egypt at a new price, after the latter canceled its 20-year gas deal over a reported business dispute.

"Egypt has no objections to reach a new contract with new conditions and new prices," Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga said Monday.


Egypt announced Sunday that it has canceled the contract with Israel since it did not meet the conditions of the deal signed in 2005.

Abul-Naga said that the contract was a business deal, and that the other side was notified five times for not meeting its financial obligations, and that the last chance for payment was on March 31.

Earlier Monday, both Israeli and Egyptian leaders stressed that the cancellation of the gas deal between the two countries was not motivated by political developments, but rather was a business dispute between two private countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downplayed the move Monday, saying that Israel has natural gas reserves "that will allow it to be energetically independent."

Egypt's ambassador to Israel also emphasized Monday that the decision to cancel the gas deal was not a political one.

It is unclear whether the decision to terminate the gas supply would affect U.S. assistance to Egypt. Congress has recently warned that its assistance depends on maintaining the peace accords with Israel, yet did not list the gas agreement as one of the conditions. U.S. assistance to Egypt amounts to approximately 1.3 billion dollars in military aid and an additional 300 million dollars in economic aid.