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Monday, February 14, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Egypt cites security for continuing block on natural gas supplies to Israel

CAIRO — Egypt has not reversed its decision to halt the supply of natural gas to Israel.


Officials said the military regime in Egypt has refused to renew operations of the Arab Gas Pipeline, which supplied neighboring Israel. They said the renewal was held up by insurgency threats to the pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula as well as a dispute over prices.

"We have to have security for the line," Egyptian Oil Minister Abdullah Ghorab said. "There have been two accidents and we need to secure the line."

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In remarks on June 2, Ghorab said the Oil Ministry was reviewing a timetable to renew supplies to Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the Egyptian national gas company was negotiating with an Israeli-Egyptian contractor, but raised the prospect of international arbitration over prices.

"If we don't agree we will go to arbitration," Ghorab said. "This was exactly our understanding in Egypt of how this relationship should be when we got into a renegotiation process for revising Egyptian export gas prices for our long-time contracts that have been accomplished a long time ago under completely different world market conditions."

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