Thursday, June 2, 2011

Egypt reneges on natural gas contract with Israel; Reuters characterizes as "renegotiation"

Israel has been getting 45 percent of its natural gas from Egypt since the two countries signed a 20-year contract in 2005.  In April, gas deliveries were halted after saboteurs blew up an Egyptian pipeline in the Sinai.  First, here's how Reuters characterizes that sabotage:  
Israel received natural gas from Egypt under a 20-year deal signed in 2005, but flows were halted when an armed gang attacked a metering station in North Sinai on April 27.
Does this read like an accurate account of a pipeline bombing?  Just askin'.

Reuters then goes on to report that Egypt is "reviewing the timetable for resuming gas exports to Israel" and wants to "negotiate more flexible contracts" with foreign gas buyers:
In an apparent reference to Egypt's efforts to renegotiate gas terms, [Petroleum Minister Abdullah] Ghorab said on Thursday he favoured flexible contracts and pricing formulas to allow a "fair and sustainable relationship between sellers and buyers".
"This was exactly our understanding in Egypt of how this relation should be when we got into a renegotiation process for revising Egyptian export gas prices for our long-time contracts that have been accomplished a long time ago under completely different world market conditions," Ghorab said.
"Mutual understanding and a positive response from all parties (should) help in achieving stable long-term supplies that satisfy the interests of all parties", he added.
Isn't that special?  The Egyptian authorities want to "renegotiate" terms stipulated in a 20-year contract with new "flexible pricing formulas".  And they expect the Israelis to show "mutual understanding and a positive response".

Now, if we were penning this story for Reuters, we would simply note that Egypt is in breach of its contractual commitment to deliver natural gas to Israel and is looking to renege on the terms of that contract.  We would certainly get the perspective of an Israeli government official so as to fulfill our ethical duty to "take no side; tell all sides".

We would report that the most powerful political party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, has called for Egypt to end gas supplies to Israel (and for war with the Jewish state).

We might even point out to our readers that cutting off the supply of an essential resource to a country, in this case natural gas to Israel, could be construed as an act of war and is actually reminiscient in some respects of Egypt's blockade of the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping in July of 1956 -- which did in fact, precipitate a war.

We would disclose all of these material aspects of the story so as to fully inform our readers and enable them to understand the background and implications of Egypt's actions. 

But then, we don't work for Reuters.

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