Abbas seeks $1 billion energy deal with Russia

An agreement on Palestinian natural gas and oil projects would restore warmer ties between the two Soviet-era allies.

January 23, 2014 19:40
1 minute read.
abbas medvedev

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Gorki residence outside Moscow January 23, 2014. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were in talks to secure a $1 billion energy deal on Thursday, AFP reported.

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The deal between Gaza and Russia also sought to restore warmer relations between the two allies, as Russia has recently developed closer ties with Israel. The agreement reportedly includes a massive natural gas project in the Mediterranean sea off of Gaza.

Russian natural gas company Gazprom was planning to produce 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas at the site, according to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.

The Russian engineering firm Technopromexport was also considering an oil development project in Ramallah in the West Bank, according to the same report.

However, it was not immediately clear when the projects might be launched or how far talks on the deals had advanced.

Russia has been a close ally of the Palestinians since the Soviet era. Moscow has called for east Jerusalem to be established as the capital of a Palestinian state in the past.

Abbas landed in Moscow on Wednesday and began his four-day official visit by meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Abbas was also scheduled to meet with several other Russian political and religious leaders during his stay.

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