Israel’s energy minister wants to scrap UAE oil line over environmental concerns

Yaacov Benmeleh 11/16/2021

(Bloomberg) - Israel should cancel the oil pipeline deal with a group of United Arab Emirates investors out of environmental concerns, the country’s minister of energy said, casting doubt over a politically-sensitive agreement that tests new diplomatic relations.

“We need to cancel this deal, there’s no advantage for the state,” Karine Elharrar said in a radio interview on Tuesday, referring to the agreement signed in October last year between Israel’s state-owned Europe Asia Pipeline Co. and the Israeli-UAE Med-Red Land Bridge consortium. “The environmental risks are too severe. We can move on.”

Mounting political pressure from members of Israel’s government is threatening to derail the deal, one of the important outcomes of the Abraham Accords signed by Israel and the UAE last year. The agreement has been under scrutiny since Israel’s new government took shape in the summer.

There is a “high chance” that the deal will be canceled, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told environmental activists on Monday, according to the Hebrew daily Globes. The Ministry of Foreign affairs didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

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