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Israeli energy minister hails water agreement in Jordan

Israel’s Energy Minister Karin Elharar told Al-Monitor that the agreement she signed today doubling the water quantity supplied to Jordan is a sign of improving diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Rafi Ben Hakun/GPO

Israel and Jordan agreed today on a plan for Israel to double the quantity of fresh water it provides to the drought-stricken Hashemite Kingdom. Energy Minister Karine Elharrar met her counterpart, Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammed Al-Najjar, to sign the agreement in Jordan. Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan Eitan Surkis, Jordanian Ambassador to Israel Ghassan Al-Majali and the heads of the Israeli and Jordanian water authorities were also present at the signing ceremony.

Elharar told Al-Monitor that head of the Israel Water Authority Giora Shaham negotiated on Israel’s behalf. “This is an issue I’ve been dealing with ever since taking office four months ago. Our objective was clear: to assist our neighbor Jordan in coping with the terrible water shortage and drought distress it is suffering from. Thus, we agreed to double the quantity of water we supply to Jordan annually. The original agreement, anchored in the peace treaty between the two countries, stipulates that Israel will provide Jordan with 50 million cubic meters of water every year. We are doubling it to 100 million cubic meters for this year with an option to continue similarly for the next two years as well.”

Elharar noted that since the two countries signed the peace agreement, there have been very few occasions where senior Israeli officials met with Jordanian counterparts and photos of the event were published. “I believe this agreement that we reached and our meeting today on the ministerial level will enhance bilateral relations,” she said. "In fact, I think that the ceremony in itself and what it represents is already a harbinger for better diplomatic relations."

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