Israeli minister says UAE pipeline deal must be canceled
JERUSALEM, Nov. 16 (Reuters) – Israel’s Energy Minister said on Tuesday that an agreement with United Arab Emirates partners to transport Gulf oil to Europe via Israel should be canceled because it involved too great an environmental risk.
Energy Minister Karine Elharrar’s opposition raises doubts over the Israeli government‘s approval of the deal, one of the most important stemming from the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. last year.
The agreement was signed between the Israeli state-owned Europe-Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC) and MED-RED Land Bridge, a company with Emirati and Israeli owners. Read more
The idea was for the oil to be unloaded from tankers at the port of Eilat on the Red Sea and then transferred through Israel in an existing pipeline to the Mediterranean coast.
The companies involved claim that this land bridge is the shortest, most efficient and cost-effective route to transport oil from the Gulf to the West. But environmental groups, who have asked Israel’s Supreme Court to freeze the deal, say the influx of tankers and crude oil is a huge ecological risk.
“I call for the cancellation of the EAPC agreement. It presents many risks for the Gulf of Eilat, for the inhabitants, and it does not benefit Israel’s energy market, ”Elharrar said in a statement.
She said officials from the United Arab Emirates told her that the deal should be seen as an agreement between private companies and that its cancellation “should not have an impact on relations between countries.”
The EAPC said the new company was part of its routine operations and met the highest international standards. He also said the deal had geopolitical advantages.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Edmund Blair
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