US looking ‘very closely’ at Qatar-Air Italy deal after subsidies spat

Mike Pompeo said the State Department was looking closely at Qatar Airways’ acquisition of a 49 percent stake in Air Italy. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 10 April 2019
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US looking ‘very closely’ at Qatar-Air Italy deal after subsidies spat

  • Pompeo said: “We’re looking very closely at this recent decision by Qatar to take on 49 percent of this airline”

LONDON: The US State Department is looking closely at a deal involving Qatar Airways buying a 49 percent stake in Air Italy following a long-running row over state subsidies.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the disclosure to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee after concerns were raised that the deal may have violated an agreement Qatar Airways reached with the US last year.
Pompeo said: “We’re looking very closely at this recent decision by Qatar to take on 49 percent of this airline.”
In a side letter to last year’s agreement between the US and Qatar, Doha indicated there were no current plans to launch additional Qatar Airways flights that picked up passengers in Europe before flying to US destinations.

An aide to Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the committee said that the acquisition of the Italian carrier with five US destinations from Milan ran counter to the earlier agreement.

The 2018 agreement was intended to resolve a years-old quarrel between US carriers and Qatar over alleged subsidies offered by Doha to its flagship airline.


Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute

Updated 17 June 2019
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Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute

CAIRO: Egypt says it has struck a deal with the state-owned Israel Electric Corp. to settle a fine for halting deliveries of natural gas.
A statement from Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry said the settlement deal, which was signed Sunday, would reduce the $1.7 billion fine to $500 million.
It says Egypt will pay the amount over eight and a half years.
In return, the Israeli company would drop other claims resulting from a 2015 arbitration decision.
Israel Electric had sued the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas after a 2005 deal to export natural gas to Israel collapsed in 2012 amid militant attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula, where Egypt has been battling insurgency for years.
Israel relied on the pipeline to meet its energy needs.