Egypt halts Israel gas talks after hefty fine
Egypt has frozen gas talks with Israel after being ordered by an arbitration group to pay $1.76 billion in fines for cutting some of the world’s cheapest gas to the Tel Aviv regime.
Cairo said it will appeal the order by the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce to pay the hefty fine to Israel for halting gas supplies to the occupied territories three years ago.
Egypt cancelled a 20-year deal for supply of natural gas to Israel in 2012 following the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak.
The gas pipeline, running through the restive north Sinai from the city of el-Arish to the Israeli port city of Ashkelon, came under repeated attacks which put it out of service in 2011.
The deal was widely unpopular in Egypt but solidly backed by former rulers who supplied Israel with 40% of its natural gas needs at much lower than market prices under an economic annex of their 1979 peace treaty.
At the time of the cancellation of the deal, Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) complained that it had not been paid by the firm that bought gas from Egypt and sold it to Israel.