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Israeli envoy to Dubai champions ‘very good’ UAE oil deal frozen by government

8 5 13

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — Israel’s top diplomat in Dubai has said he is hopeful a deal to ship Emirati oil will clear environmental hurdles as trade booms after the groundbreaking opening of ties.

Ilan Sztulman Starosta, who heads Israel’s first consulate in the UAE economic hub, told AFP that trade between the two countries would “easily” surpass $1 billion within a year if the COVID pandemic abates.

His assessment came despite Israel freezing the Gulf oil deal last month over fears that spills could threaten unique coral reefs in the Red Sea.

Environmentalists had voiced anger over the plan to ship Emirati crude to Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat, and transport it via an aging pipeline to Ashkelon on the Mediterranean coast for onward transport to Europe.

“Now it’s a technical environment issue, and the project was frozen because of fear that this pipeline, which is very old, is not well kept enough for the oil to pass through and there’s danger of leaks,” Sztulman Starosta said in an interview.

“The environment ministry froze the program. So now they went into a project to have professional people look at the pipeline and........

© The Times of Israel

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