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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Egypt, Cyprus agree in to build natural gas pipeline, connect electricity grids

Egypt and Cyprus agreed to begin talks in December on a natural gas pipelineconnecting the two countries, Xinhua reports, citing Cypriot state radio. The new connection will use an existing pipeline connecting “depleted Egyptian gas fields to liquefaction plants at Idku and Damietta.” Egypt will also be inking an agreement with Greece, Cyprus, and Italy in early December over an EU-sponsored gas pipeline connecting eastern Mediterranean fields to Italy via Cyprus and Greece, according to the radio report. “These gas discoveries can contribute to the European continent’s search for alternative energy sources, taking advantage of the position of Egypt and Cyprus,” President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart President Nicos Anastasiades in Cyprus yesterday, the Associated Press reports.

The Electricity Ministry is also conducting a feasibility study on linking the electricity grids of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, chairman of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) Gaber El Desouki said on Monday. He added that the project (in the same vein as the Egypt-Saudi electricity grid interconnection project) would become part of a larger power linkage project between Europe and Africa, the local press reports.

Cooperation on energy will be at the heart of relations with Cyprus, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Thanks to their strategic geographic location, Egypt and Cyprus “could have an active and vital role in the region’s energy policy,” El Sisi said during a joint press conference.

For his part, Anastasiades said his country will promote closer relations between Egypt and the EU, calling Egypt an "absolutely necessary strategic partner" for the 28-member bloc on issues like energy, migration and combating extremism.

In a closed-door meeting ahead of the conference, El Sisi and Anastasiades signed two MoUs on cooperation on health and information technology. The leaders also discussed cooperation on economic and cultural issues, as well as security under a joint framework signed in 2015.

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