U.S. Water News Online
JERUSALEM -- Israel has agreed to buy 1.75 billion cubic
feet of water from Turkey every year for the next 20 years to try to
solve its water shortage and ensure the success of an arms deal,
Israeli officials said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Turkey's Energy Minister
Zeki Cakan reached the deal at a meeting in Jerusalem. The final
price hasn't been reached, but a joint committee was set up ``to
discuss and finalize the issue of water transportation from Turkey to
Israel,'' said a joint statement released after the talks.
Transporting the water and payment have been sticking points in
the negotiations, said Raanan Gissin, an official in Sharon's office.
An arms deal with Turkey, in which it agreed to buy Israeli tanks and
air force technology, was also an issue, he added.
Israel's relationship with the large Islamic country is important
to the Jewish state, especially amid 22 months of fighting with the
Palestinians, which has caused tension in the Middle East and
strained Israel's ties with Egypt and Jordan, with which it has
signed peace treaties.
In the barren Middle East, water is a strategic issue as well as
one of survival. Turkey is one of the few countries in the area with
water reserves, and sales of the precious commodity could boost its
position as a regional power and bring in tens of millions of dollars
in badly needed hard currency.
Turkey tied the arms deal to the water agreement, Gissin said, but
denied media reports it had threatened to cancel the military treaty
if Israel did not go through with its promise to purchase water. He
refused to detail the size of the arms deal.
Israel and Turkey have a ``very large, complex strategic and
commercial relationship'' so both were interested in reaching an
agreement, Gissin said. ``Turkey is an important part of our overall
regional policy,'' he added.
In the end, Israel agreed to buy water at a higher price than it
would have cost to desalinate, Gissin said, adding that Israel will
not have desalination facilities for at least another five years.
``There's costs and benefits on both sides of this. Water,
additional water, will never hurt Israel because we are at a very
grave shortage,'' Gissin said. ``Water is like money in the bank. You
can use it in the future.''
Return to the
U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.