A spokesman for the Egyptian energy ministry has officially denied reports that Israel will be included in an Egyptian project to create a regional electricity grid.
Ministry of Electricity and Energy spokesman Aktham Abul Ela was quoted in a report published in Arabic by the Al Masry Al Youm, saying “Our agreements with other countries in the region are all public knowledge.” According to the report, which was translated by the media watchdog IMRA (Independent Media Review Analysis), the spokesman emphasized there would be no dealings with Israel, not "now or in the future."
Solar project planned?
The statement may have come in response to a statement made last Thursday by Industry and Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who announced at a renewable energy conference in Eilat that Israel was considering developing a solar energy project with Cairo. The project, which would produce electricity, is to be carried out in the Sinai Peninsula, which today belongs to Egypt. The minister said he had discussed the idea during a recent visit to the Egyptian capital with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Both countries would benefit from the plan, explained Ben-Eliezer, who noted that the project would produce enough energy to allow for export of surplus electricity to third parties as well.
Ben-Eliezer said that “Egypt has the requisite space and Israel would contribute its technological know-how. In our discussions with President [Hosni] Mubarak, he expressed much interest in the idea. We will be working together with Egyptian government representatives to advance the idea.”
At the same conference, Salah Azzam, Director of the Bio-Fuels Division at the National Energy Research Center, outlined his plans for the establishment of an Israeli-Jordanian bio-diesel plant by the end of this year. The plant, to be built on the border between the two countries, will be operated by representatives from both nations.
“This project could serve as a great boost for establishing peace and security in the region and could promote peace efforts between Israel and its neighbors,” Azzam said.