The energy minister of Egypt, (the minister for petroleum and mineral resources) Tarek El Molla, visited Israel yesterday (Sunday) and met with his counterpart Yuval Steinitz and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The sides agreed that they would establish a pipeline from the Leviathan offshore natural gas field that would lead to the liquefaction facilities in Egypt. Also participating in the meeting were National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, Egypt Natural Gas Holding Company Chairman Magdy Galal, Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Amira Oron, and Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Khaled Azmi.
"This is an important day, marking our continued cooperation on energy and so many other things. There is a new era of peace and prosperity for the region with the Abraham Accords," said Netanyahu. "This began of course with the historic peace treaty between Egypt and Israel but now it is becoming something that can better the lives of all the people in economic terms and we think that this is a great opportunity for regional cooperation – Egypt, Israel and the other countries. We are an energy hub. Together we can supply not only our own needs, but the needs of many other countries."
In a video posted on his Twitter account, Energy Minister Steinitz said that he was "excited to host my good colleague and friend, Minister Tarek El Molla, the Egyptian minister of energy, here in Jerusalem. It's another token of our wonderful and important cooperation in the field of natural gas and energy in general. We both made this initiative of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, located in Cairo, joining Israel, Arab and European countries together," adding that it was a historic visit and that he felt privileged to host the minister and his team. It was indeed a historic visit because with the exception of the foreign minister, no other Egyptian minister had visited Israel for decades.
Minister El Molla thanked Netanyahu for the reception and also praised the cooperation with Steinitz. "Together with Minister Steinitz, we started together a few years back the expansion of the cooperation in energy which was enhanced by the foundation of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum. I am looking forward to our discussions." Earlier, the Egyptian minister visited Ramallah where he met the Palestinian presidential advisor for economic affairs, Mohamed Mustafa. A statement from the Egyptian Petroleum Ministry said the visit to Israel and Ramallah "aims to crystalize a common vision and a systematic dialogue to develop a regional market, as the forum’s charter (comes into effect)."