Turkey, Israel Sign Water Deal
Turkey and Israel signed last week the first major commercial transaction on water, reported The Jerusalem Post newspaper.
Israeli sources told the daily Sunday that both countries have agreed to a water purchase in a preliminary deal that foresees the sale of Turkish waters to Israel.
Over the 10-year contract, Israel is to buy 50 million cubic meters of Turkish water annually, said the sources.
The agreement in principle was reached during a high-level Israeli team's visit to Ankara.
"We are very happy that considerable steps were taken on this way. If you consider that water is a potential problem that might lead to another serious dispute in the near future in the Middle East, such a deal will strongly contribute to the peace efforts in the region," spokesman of Israel's embassy in Ankara, Gilead Cohen, told the paper.
Maybe, this deal will also help this Turkish water to serve the needs of Palestinians and Jordanians in the future, he said.
Cohen said a discussion protocol was signed, and that a Turkish team will travel to Israel soon in order to work on details of the cost of transporting the water.
"This deal will help Israel supply water to Jordan, as it has pledged to do under its peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom," he said.
According to the Post, Israel usually needs around two billion cubic meters of water annually. Thus, the deal will supply five percent of its needs.
Water experts are predicting a severe shortage in 2001 if alternative sources are not found, said AFP.
Sources told Albawaba.com on Saturday that Turkey will be invited to join the coordination efforts with Syria and Iraq regarding sharing water in the Euphrates River.
They added that Syrian-Iraqi meeting will also seek to sign an agreement concerning the Tigris River’s waters in a bid to coordinate the two countries’ stand regarding the issue.
Iraq announced last week that it would invite Turkey to take part in the negotiations.
The issue has been a major dispute in the region for years. Iraq and Syria, which depend on the Euphrates for their water needs, complained about Turkey’s several dams on the river which have, since the 1970s, reduced the flow of water to its neighbors.
Ankara has recently increased the quantity of water reaching Syria to 550 cubic meters per second, compared to the 45-75 mps last September, according to a water expert at the Syrian irrigation ministry -- Albawaba.com
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