Egypt seeks firm partnership with Germany on energy, exporting gas to EU: Sisi

Ahram Online , Mohamed Soliman , Monday 18 Jul 2022

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi affirmed on Monday Egypt’s “full readiness” to lay the foundations of a firm partnership with Berlin on energy, whether by exporting natural gas to Germany and the European Union or establishing an “extended partnership.”

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) shakes hands with Egypt s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the end of a joint press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on July 18, 2022. AFP


This is part of “Egypt's ambitious vision to transform itself into a distinguished hub for the production and export of clean energy, especially green hydrogen and solar and wind energy,” El-Sisi said at a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

Scholz affirmed that the green hydrogen, which Germany needs to import, can provide a huge cooperation opportunity with many countries and achieve successful economic cooperation with Egypt.

Egypt has announced plans to establish green hydrogen production projects and enhance cooperation with Europe in this regard.

El-Sisi highlighted the natural gas MoU that Egypt signed with Israel and the EU in mid-June, saying Egypt has affirmed its readiness to provide all facilitations to enable the delivery of Eastern Mediterranean gas to Europe to alleviate the impact of the global energy crisis.

“The challenges in the field of energy require us to cooperate to mitigate their effects,” El-Sisi said, affirming Egypt’s openness for further discussions with German officials regarding energy.

The landmark deal signed in Egypt in the presence of President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen allows Israel to transport natural gas to the EU from Egypt after being liquified.

The EU aims through this deal to reduce its dependency on Russian gas amid the Ukraine crisis after importing around 40 percent of its overall consumption of natural gas from Russia last year.

Besides Israeli gas, the EU also hopes that more Egyptian gas can be brought into Europe through less costly pipelines without having to be liquified.

Egyptian gas exports to Europe were around 2 million tons in 2021, up from just 270,000 the previous year, according to data from S&P Global Platts.

During the presser, El-Sisi said all the available Eastern Mediterranean gas can be exported from Egypt to the EU with already-available Egyptian capabilities.

“The relationship between us [Egypt] and Europe is far larger than the aim of providing something in exchange for another thing,” El-Sisi said in response to a question from the press about Egypt’s gains from the MoU.

El-Sisi said the global energy crisis affects prices in countries worldwide, including in Egypt, affirming that Egypt is ready to play any role to mitigate the effects of the crisis.

The president stressed that the global food and energy crises are very pressing for the Egyptian economy, urging for European partners’ cooperation with Egypt in this regard.

“We ask our friends in Europe to cooperate with us in this matter along with international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to deliver a message that the current reality in our countries cannot bear the standards in force during this stage until this crisis ends,” he added.

Unlike the case in Europe, Egypt cannot allow a rise in prices to be reflected on the Egyptian citizen, El-Sisi said, as this would cause huge inflation and instability.

Ukraine, GERD, regional issues

El-Sisi said he spoke with Scholz about the “difficult” global economic situation and unprecedented negative effects on world countries, which have resulted from the ongoing Ukraine crisis, especially regarding food and energy.

“We have agreed that the current situation obliges all international actors to shoulder the responsibility of finding practical solutions and mechanisms that would mitigate the effects of the crisis on the most affected countries,” El-Sisi said.

For his part, Scholz said Russia has caused the international community to incur huge losses due to the war in Ukraine, affirming the need to collectively act against the Russian measures.

El-Sisi also briefed the German chancellor on the developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue.

He affirmed Egypt’s continued efforts to find a fair solution that takes into account its “uncompromised” water security by reaching a legally-binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.

The president said he discussed with Scholz other regional issues of mutual concern directly impacting security and stability in the region.

He affirmed that Egypt would continue its sincere efforts in coordination with other partners to settle these crises and tackle the causes of tensions in the region out of its historic role and responsibility in its regional surrounding.

El-Sisi also agreed with Scholz on maintaining coordination on regional issues, at the top of which is the Palestinian issue as well as the situations in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, in addition to means of countering terrorism, extremism, and irregular migration.

Scholz hailed Egypt’s pivotal role in consolidating stability in the Gaza enclave as well as in Libya by encouraging the holding of impartial and free elections in the Arab country.

Human rights in Egypt

El-Sisi discussed with Scholz the human rights issue in Egypt within the framework of the “comprehensive approach” adopted by the Egyptian state in this regard.

This approach “stems from the human’s right to decent life and development in a society that enjoys political rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution and that the Egyptian state is committed to protecting,” El-Sisi said.

The president said he briefed Scholz on the latest developments with regards to the human rights situation in Egypt in recent months.

This includes the launch of the National Strategy for Human Rights, which encompasses executive steps and follow-up and review mechanisms with the participation of the civil society, El-Sisi said.

This is in addition to launching the National Dialogue and ending the state of emergency in Egypt, he added.

“We care for the [human rights] file, not because you ask us about that, but because we respect and love our people,” El-Sisi said in response to a press question. “This is our moral, historical, and humanitarian responsibility toward our people.”

The president invited “everyone” concerned about the human rights issue to visit Egypt and meet with people to verify the freedom of expression, women’s rights, and human rights in the country and speak about it frankly to the German public.

Egyptian-German ties

Scholz said that Egyptian-German relations, which celebrate this year their 70th anniversary, are based on mutual respect.

Scholz affirmed Germany’s keenness to boost joint projects with Egypt in a way that enhances the relations between the two countries, highlighting the importance Germany attaches to industry and energy.

He added that the number of German companies operating in Egypt reflects the trust of the German economy in the Egyptian business climate.

For his part, El-Sisi said the Egyptian-German partnership has seen qualitative progress on all levels, affirming Egypt’s commitment to continuing to enhance these relations.

El-Sisi hailed the ongoing economic and development cooperation between the two countries over the past years, in light of an “active” German contribution to the Egyptian development’s efforts and strong engagement by giant German companies in the country to implement mega projects.

These projects “contribute to changing life in Egypt through the establishment of a huge and modern infrastructure in many vital sectors.”

Making COP27 a success

Scholz said the European Union has agreed on a “clear path” of making the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh city in November a success.

He affirmed the importance of working to implement the outcomes of the Paris Agreement on climate, especially the need to reduce carbon emissions.

El-Sisi attended today the 13th edition of the Petersburg Climate Dialogue held in Germany as the last international stop ahead of COP27.

During the presser, El-Sisi affirmed the importance of the Petersburg Climate Dialogue to coordinate international efforts to achieve tangible progress on climate, which is the most prominent challenge to the future of the humanity.

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