EU signs gas deal with Israel, Egypt in seeking alternative to Russian energy

The European Union has agreed with Israel and Egypt on a deal aimed at stabilizing gas supplies to the bloc as it seeks alternatives to imports from Russia.

The three sides reached the deal in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Wednesday. They agreed to strengthen cooperation on natural gas extracted from Israel's offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean.

Under the deal, the Israeli gas will be sent to Egypt via pipeline and liquefied there for export to Europe. The three sides also agreed to work to advance transportation technology.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters that Israel and Egypt are "trustworthy suppliers" for the EU as it moves to end its dependency on Russian fossil fuels.

Natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean are thought to be huge. Countries in the region have been seeking to cooperate in some way, including plans to lay undersea pipelines to Europe.

Analysts say efforts to reach a deal have apparently been accelerated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.