In a recent TV interview, Egyptian businessman and tycoon Naguib Sawiris said: "There is natural gas right next to me - why not import it?!" "What are they afraid of? That a spy might pop out of the gas pipe?" he went on to say. The interview aired on BBC Arabic and was posted on the Internet on October 21, 2014.
Following are excerpts:
Naguib Sawiris: [Egypt] suffers from severe shortages in various fields. Take, for example, the bickering about importing natural gas from Israel. I don't understand why people bring up all kinds of other possibilities. There is natural gas right next to me – why not import it?! Why was it okay for us to export gas to Israel, but it's not okay to import from it?
Interviewer: But people say that there are national security considerations…
Naguib Sawiris: What are they afraid of? That a spy might pop out of the gas pipe? What does national security have to do with any of this? On the contrary… We used to export gas to Israel, saying that it was in the interest of our national security, but now we cannot import gas from them because of our national security?! Besides, what issues are still pending between Egypt and Israel? There is only the issue of establishing a Palestinian state, but with regard to Egyptian –Israeli relations, there are no issues – we have regained our territory.