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Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Russians are winking at us to get Daba’a signed before we worry about tourism

Are the Russians winking at us to get Daba’a signed before we worry about tourism? “The construction of [Daba’a nuclear power plant] with Russia’s participation is much more important for Egypt than return of Russian tourists,” Russian state-owned news agency TASS quotes Tarek Heggy saying, positioning the former oil industry executive as an Egyptian “political thinker and international petroleum strategist.” TASS uses Heggy to deliver a not-to-subtle message: “Egypt will face an energy catastrophe if the country abandons building the [plant]” Heggy downplayed Egypt’s energy reserves and the giant Zohr gas field, sharing none of the optimism about Egypt that major IOCs had demonstrated during the Egypt Petroleum Show 2017.

And as if to hammer the point, TASS also ran statements yesterday by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, who said that no timeline has specified for the resumption of flights to Egypt. Yesterday’s stories are just the latest in a drumbeat of pieces through which Moscow has alternately held out carrots and sticks on the resumption of direct flights. The Electricity Ministry is planning to announce the terms of the Daba’a contract this Saturday.

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