Electricity ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Turkey signed a protocol in Cairo on 9 May to carry out the second phase of a programme to connect the five countries’ power grids by 2002. The first phase of the project to link Jordan and Egypt is expected to be completed by 1997.

The Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development (AFESD) will examine proposals in October to finance a $4 million consultancy contract to carry out detailed designs for the second phase of the scheme. AFESD will be the principal source of the $1,500 million programme. The project aims to save $10 million a year in generating costs and reduce demand for local generating capacity by about 5 per cent.

As part of the multilateral peace talks, Austria’s Verbundplan and Germany’s Lahmeyer are carrying out a study about linking the electricity grids of Israel, Egypt, the occupied territories and Jordan. The study is being financed by the EU and Austria, which are leading the energy talks in the regional economic development working group. A report will be presented at the next meeting of the working group, which is expected to take place in Rabat at the end of May.