Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said cancellation of a trade deal with Egypt is not a sign of declining relations with the country’s new regime.
Israel had a positive working relationship with ousted leader Hosni Mubarak and has worked to deflect rumors that the Jewish state is having issues with the newly formed Egyptian government, which is in the middle of elections and working to produce a new constitution. The two countries were on the verge of fostering a natural gas deal that would have seen Egypt exporting resources to Israel.
"The termination of the natural gas supply from Egypt is not motivated by political decisions, but is a business dispute between the Israeli and the Egyptian companies," Netanyahu said in a meeting this week. "Israel has natural gas reserves that will allow it to be energetically independent, not only from the Egyptian gas supply, but from any other source.”
The comments came after the head of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company announced it would terminate its end of the deal, due to “Israel’s repeated breaching of the agreement.”
Following the fallout, Egypt’s ambassador to Israel met with the Jewish state’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon. The Egyptian ambassador, Yasser Rida, said the decision to end the agreement was business motivated, not political. In response, Ayalon urged that Egypt should therefore handle the issue as it would any other business deal, to ensure the two countries remained on friendly terms.