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Source: European Commission
23 July 2003

European Commission welcomes the big steps ahead in energy dialogue between Israel & Palestine authority undercover of the EU

IP/03/1099 - Brussels, 23 July 2003

European Commission Vice President Ms De Palacio today met with the Minister of Infrastructure of Israel Mr Joseph I. Paritzky and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of the Palestinian Authority Mr Azzam Shawwa and the Italian Presidency of the European Union represented by Minister Marzano to assess the progress achieved to date in the Tri-lateral Working Group Israel-Palestinian Authority-European Commission on Energy Co-operation created at the Athens Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting on 23 May 2003.

During the meeting, the results of the work carried out by the Tri-lateral Working Group were discussed and the minutes of the last meeting were endorsed. “I very much welcome the enhanced co-operation between the Commission, Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as our decision of today to create a joint structure to facilitate the implementation of the agreed projects of common interest in the energy sector. This is an important step forward for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and for the improvement of the economic and social welfare of their citizens” Vice-President Loyola de Palacio said.

Today's meeting endorsed the results achieved by the most recent meeting of the Tri-lateral Working Group Israel-Palestinian Authority-European Commission on Energy co-operation, which took place in Brussels on 22nd July 2003 in Brussels and which confirmed specific areas for co-operation, namely: the electricity and gas infrastructure interconnections, the restarting of the negotiations on an electricity and energy framework agreement, technological and industry co-operation for energy demand management and renewable energy.

Finally, a concrete working programme was agreed upon in view of a joint presentation of the energy co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the occasion of the forthcoming Ministerial Euro-Mediterranean meeting to be held in Rome on 1-2 December 2003 under the chairmanship of Minister Marzano.

ANNEX :

Joint Declaration.

We, Minister Joseph I. Paritzky of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Israel, Minister Azzam Shawwa of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Palestinian Authority and Vice-President Loyola de Palacio of the European Commission met today in the presence of Minister Marzano of the Italian Presidency of the European Union to assess the progress achieved by the Tri-lateral Israel-Palestinian Authority-European Commission Working Group on Energy Co-operation.

We welcome the progress achieved at the level of the experts since our agreement at Athens on 23 May 2003 and endorse the results contained in the attached minutes.

Minutes of Meeting

Second Trilateral Expert Working Group

Israel Palestine Authority European Commission

Brussels, 22/07/2003

The second meeting of the Trilateral Expert Working Group took place today in the framework of the decision to strengthen energy co-operation between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the European Commission.

The participants agreed:

In the Electricity sector, that:

They would restart negotiations composed of a joint negotiating committee comprised of representatives from the Government of Israel's Ministry of Infrastructure, the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, and all other relevant Parties.

The items to be negotiated upon are:

Commercial agreement for the supply of electricity;

Interconnection agreement for the exchange of electricity;

A master plan, initially bi-lateral and then regional in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean electricity ring.

The next meeting will take place in Ramallah or another mutually agreed location during the week of 10-15 August 2003.

In the Natural Gas sector, that:

A joint group of experts will examine market scenarios and relevant interconnections for development and co-operation, in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean gas ring.

The next meeting will take place in Tel Aviv or another mutually agreed location during the week of 7-11 September 2003.

In the Energy Demand Management and Renewables sector, that:

A joint group of experts will examine joint projects of common interest, specifically:

Joint training programmes, including between research centres and universities;

Joint technological projects with EU countries.

The first meeting will take place in Tel Aviv or another mutually agreed location during the week of 7-11 September 2003.

The participants agreed to invite the European Commission to the above meetings.

For the implementation of the energy co-operation programme, the experts recommend:

Envisaging, over the medium term, the development of an energy infrastructure development programme in which international financial institutions (such as the EIB) and the private financial sector could be involved;

Envisaging the creation of a joint technical Israel-Palestinian Authority body to support the energy co-operation and which could benefit from technical assistance. The operational procedures and remit of this body should be agreed between the Ministers.

In addition, the experts recommend:

The finalisation of the electricity agreements, before the end of October 2003, in order that the next Ministerial meeting, which will take place during the forthcoming visit of Commission Vice-President Ms De Palacio, could take note of them.

The gas, electricity and renewable projects of common interest should be identified in time for a joint presentation during an industrial conference to be held in Brussels in November, with the participation of neighbouring countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

A presentation should also be foreseen for the Ministerial meeting in Rome of 1-2 December.

Any other issues agreed upon by both sides and within the mandate of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Israel and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Palestinian Authority can be raised in the framework of the scope of work of the tri-lateral Working Group of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the European Commission.

Done in Brussels on 22/07/2003

For Israel: For the European Commission: For the Palestinian Authority:


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