Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi stated Sunday that his country would demand that Israel
pay the price differences for the reduced gas it purchased during the Hosni Mubarak era.
"We will honor everything we signed on and we'll demand that they uphold it too," he was quoted as saying in an interview to the Dream TV channel.
According to the minister, clause No. 8 in the Israel-Egypt peace agreement
allows the parties to appoint a joint committee to discuss settling financial disputes, "and we will demand from Israel the price differences of the gas exported to Israel during the previous regime."
Al-Arabi noted that the Camp David Accords do not include a clause on selling gas and oil to Israel for a reduced price, and that those who interpreted it that way were "wrong" or "wanted to interpret it that way".
Al-Arabi, who is considered hostile towards Israel, is the first official to raise the possibility that Egypt would demand that Israel pay for the gas retroactively. These comments contradict remarks made by the new oil minister, who said Egypt wanted to enter negotiations with Israel on the possibility of raising the gas prices from now on.
The Egyptian foreign minister added that former President Mubarak was a "strategic treasure" for Israel, implying that this would not be the situation from now on. He also said that Iran should not be considered an enemy state.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.