CAIRO, Egypt: Egypt, Israel and the European Union (EU) have signed an agreement to increase liquified natural gas sales to EU countries, and reduce their dependence on Russian supplies after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
According to European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, the deal will see Israel send more gas via Egypt, which has facilities to liquify it for export by sea.
During a joint news conference alongside the Egyptian and Israel energy ministers, von der Leyen said, "What a special moment. I very warmly welcome the signing of this historic agreement."
The agreement was part of Europe's efforts to reduce its reliance on Russia for energy sources and to import hydrocarbons from "other trustworthy suppliers," she added, noting Israel and Egypt have emerged as gas exporters in recent years after major offshore discoveries.
The agreement stipulates that the EU will help Egypt and Israel increase their gas production and exploration in their territorial waters.
In a joint news conference with Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, von der Leyen said, "It is known that the Russian war against Ukraine has exposed our European dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and we want to get rid of this dependency."
In 2021, Russia delivered some 40 percent of the EU's gas supplies, which led to difficulty in imposing sanctions on Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine.
"This is a statement to those who see in our region only negative forces, such as division and conflict," said Israeli Energy Minister Karin Elharrar.
The deal is "an important milestone" for cooperation between Egypt, Israel and the EU," Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla added.