Egypt says gas discoveries can be EU’s new energy source

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, left, said that Europe can take advantage of the proximity of both Egypt and Cyprus as the continent searches for alternative energy sources during talks with his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades, right. (Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2017
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Egypt says gas discoveries can be EU’s new energy source

NICOSIA: Newly discovered gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean can offer Europe the alternative sources of energy that it’s searching for, Egypt’s president said Monday.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that Europe can take advantage of the proximity of both Egypt and Cyprus to the continent in that energy search.
“These gas discoveries can contribute to the European continent’s search for alternative energy sources, taking advantage of the position of Egypt and Cyprus,” El-Sisi said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said his country will promote closer relations between Egypt and the EU, calling Egypt an “absolutely necessary strategic partner” for the 28-member bloc on issues like energy, migration and combating extremism.
“Our vision is that the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the wider region becomes a catalyst for wider cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean, contributing to regional peace, stability and prosperity,” Anastasiades said.
The Egyptian president also said he and Anastasiades agreed on ways of countering the threat of extremism in the region, noting a 2015 military cooperation agreement between the two countries.
Egypt and Cyprus have in the last three years aimed at forging closer ties as part of a relationship built largely on energy cooperation.
Egyptian and Cypriot officials are set to begin talks next month on a potential pipeline that could bring gas from a Cypriot offshore field to Egypt for possible domestic use or export.
Two years ago, Italian energy company Eni discovered in Egyptian waters the biggest gas field ever found in the Mediterranean. Eni, along with France’s Total and ExxonMobil are also searching for more hydrocarbons in adjacent Cypriot waters.
The Egyptian president’s visit to Cyprus comes a day ahead of a three-way meeting that will include Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
El-Sisi said Tuesday’s talks will also aim to boost energy cooperation between the three countries.
Cyprus, Greece and Israel have also held a number of three-way talks aimed at enhancing energy and security ties.


Iraqi police arresting protesters in the south — activists

Updated 51 min 56 sec ago
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Iraqi police arresting protesters in the south — activists

  • The government rushed to contain the protests with promises of thousands of jobs, mainly in the oil sector
  • Basra is home to about 70 percent of Iraq’s proven oil reserves of 153.1 billion barrels

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces in the southern oil-rich province of Basra have started arresting protesters who took part in the week-long demonstrations there to demand more jobs and better services, activists said Monday.
Protests in the city of Basra, the provincial capital and Iraq’s second-largest city, are not unusual in scorching summer weather but they boiled over last Tuesday, when security forces opened fire, killing one person and wounding five.
Within days the rallies spread to other provinces. In some places, protesters broke into local government buildings and burned the offices of some political parties.
The government rushed to contain the protests with promises of thousands of jobs, mainly in the oil sector, and an urgent allocation of 3.5 trillion Iraqi dinars ($3 billion) for electricity and water projects. It blamed “infiltrators” for the damages.
The arrests started on Sunday night, with police chasing protesters down main roads and alleys following demonstrations in the city of Basra, and also in the countryside and around oil fields, two activists told The Associated Press.
The activists could not give a specific number for those arrested, saying only “hundreds.” They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety. Officials were not immediately available to comment.
The activists said Internet was back on after a two-day shutdown, but a heavy deployment of security forces outside the local government building in Basra prevented protesters from gathering there Monday.
Police also closed off surrounding streets with barbed wire.
Meanwhile, authorities reopened the country’s second-busiest airport, in the city of Najaf, following a two-day shutdown after a mob broke into the facility on Friday, damaging the passenger terminal and vandalizing equipment.
Transportation Minister Kadhim Finjan Al-Hamai was at the Najaf airport to announce the reopening on the Iraqi state TV as an Iraqi Airways plane landed behind him. He said 18 local and international flights were to land on Monday.
The shutdown had caused “heavy losses” to the government, the airport and airline companies, he said without elaborating.
Kuwait Airways, the Royal Jordanian and Iran’s Aviation Authority suspended their flights to Najaf on Sunday, citing security concerns. The United Arab Emirates’ FlyDubai canceled Saturday’s flights to Najaf and said it was suspending its flights until July 22.
Iraq’s vital Um Qasr port on the Arabian Gulf, and two main border crossings — Safwan with Kuwait and Shalamcheh with Iran — were closed to both passengers and goods as protesters had blocked the main roads leading to the sites.
Basra is home to about 70 percent of Iraq’s proven oil reserves of 153.1 billion barrels. It is located on the Arabian Gulf bordering Kuwait and Iran, and is Iraq’s only hub these days for all oil exports to the international market.