Thu, 27 Jan 2022

DUBAI, UAE: Israel and Jordan have signed what is being labeled a most significant cooperation agreement to construct a major solar power plant in Jordan that will generate electricity for the Jewish state, while a desalination plant built in Israel will send fresh water to Jordan.

The agreement was brokered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which hosted a signing ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai, with the participation of Emirates Development Bank chairman Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry.

The agreement was reportedly first discussed in September, during a meeting between Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and Mohamed Al Khaja, UAE Ambassador to Israel.

It will see Jordan obtain water from an Israeli plant along the Mediterranean coast, while Israel receives solar power from the Jordan-based facility, which will be constructed by an Emirati firm.

The agreement is also the latest outcome of last year's Abraham Peace Accords signed by Israel and the UAE, which was brokered by the Trump administration.

The Biden administration, while stressing the accords are not a replacement for Israeli-Palestinian peace, also pledged to support related agreements.

Last month, Elharrar met with Jordan Water and Irrigation Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar to sign a separate agreement to double the amount of water Israel supplies to Jordan.

The agreement was the "most significant" since the former enemies signed a peace treaty in 1994, Elharrar said.

Jordan, which has publicly downplayed its ties with Israel for many years, has not commented on the agreement.

Jordan is one of the world's most water-deficient countries, while Israel is also hot and dry, but its advanced desalination technology has created opportunities for selling water.

Feasibility studies for the project will begin next year.

The Israel-Jordan agreement should have been signed at the start of the month during the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, but Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett delayed the announcement due to concerns the deal would be criticized by the political opposition, according to the Walla news site.

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