Report: Egypt-Gaza energy deal rests on Palestinian unity

Connecting Gaza to Egypt's electricity grid depends on the success of the reconciliation deal between the Palestinian Authority and Strip's ruling Hamas, the Gaza energy authorities said Sunday.
Gaza energy chief Ahmed Abu Al-Amreen said that Egypt's energy minister assured Amreen that Cairo agreed to supply Gaza with additional power if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed off on the the deal.
The comments came as Abbas met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Qatar to discuss overcoming obstacles that have prevented the implementation of the reconciliation agreement that was signed in Cairo last May.
Palestinian Authority energy chief Omar Katana said that his office is "one of the few official institutions" that did not cease operations in the Strip after Hamas forced Fatah out of the coastal enclave in 2007.
Still, Israel provides Gaza with 70 percent of its electricity, with the remainder coming from Egypt or local plants. Civilians in Gaza are accustomed to blackouts and power shortages, according to Palestinian Ma'an news agency.
Egyptian Electric Holding Company President Mahmoud Balbaa said that Egypt supports supplying "power to the Gaza Strip," according to London-based Al Hayat.
Balbaa noted that the Palestinian Authority has already agreed to join a regional electrical grid that already includes Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.
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