Egypt's petroleum minister visits Israel to discuss energy cooperation

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JERUSALEM, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek El Molla made a rare visit to Israel on Sunday to discuss bilateral energy cooperation initiatives.

El Molla held a meeting with Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, during which they agreed to work on an inter-governmental energy deal, according to a statement issued by Steinitz's office.

Under the proposed agreement, Leviathan, a large natural gas field off Israel's Mediterranean coast discovered in 2010, would be connected to the Egyptian Liquefied Natural Gas Company's facilities via an offshore pipeline.

"This is an important day," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of his meeting with El Molla.

Referring to Israel's natural gas fields, Netanyahu said Israel as "an energy hub" can "supply not only our own needs but the needs of many other countries."

Israeli media reported that the Egyptian minister's trip marked the first visit by a senior Egyptian official to Israel in the last five years. Enditem

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