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In Gas Decision, Egypt Blames Business Dispute

Egyptian engineer Hani Dahi, executive director of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, said on Monday that the military council and the government had no part in the decision to terminate Egypt’s agreement to provide natural gas to Israel.

According to Dahi, the decision was made following a business dispute with Israel, and has nothing to do with politics. He added that the Israeli side has not fulfilled its economic obligations, despite repeated requests.

Mohamed Shoeb, head of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company, announced Sunday evening that the company will terminate its agreement to provide natural gas to Israel, after a decision had been made on Thursday due to what he termed “Israel’s repeated breaching of the agreement.”

Just Sunday, presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi said that if elected he will cancel the gas deal.

Israeli security officials said that Egypt has not provided clear answers on the matter, and that during talks in Cairo Egyptian officials refused to confirm or deny the decision.

Despite Dahi’s statements, it remains unclear whether the Supreme Military Council knew about the decision. It may have been an independent step taken by the Egyptian gas company as the economic situation in Cairo remains unstable.

It seems that on the eve of the Egyptian presidential elections, the situation on the ground has never been so chaotic: Egypt still does not have a constitution defining the president’s authority, and it remains unclear who will lead the committee to draft such a document. On Sunday, in a bid to calm public sentiment, a senior Military Council member said the elections will take place as planned and that authority will be fully transferred to the elected official.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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