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Israel, Jordan said set to ink deal to exchange solar energy for desalinated water

A general view shows part of a new 15 million euro ($17 million) solar plant during its official inauguration at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, on November 13, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)
A general view shows part of a solar plant during its official inauguration at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan on November 13, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates will reportedly sign a deal next week under which a solar plant in the Jordanian desert will generate power for Israel, in exchange for a desalination plant in Israel that will provide Jordan with water.

According to the report on the Walla news site, the deal is slated to be signed in Dubai next week after months of secret negotiations between the three nations. It was purportedly supposed to be signed two weeks ago at the international climate conference in Glasgow, but Prime Minister Naftali Bennett requested it be delayed until after Israel’s contentious budget votes.

The report, which cites five Israeli officials familiar with the negotiations, claims that the Biden administration was also aware of and involved in the massive project. US special envoy on climate John Kerry reportedly spoke multiple times with both Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Kerry, Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, Jordanian Water Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar and UAE special envoy on climate change Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber are expected to take part in the signing of the deal.

Under the terms of the deal, a UAE company will construct the solar plant in Jordan from which Israel will purchase electricity. The deal was reportedly first raised in meeting in September between Elharrar and UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja, during discussions on how the UAE can help broker future regional deals following the Abraham Accords.

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