Turkey and Israel were unable to finalize a deal on Thursday to export 50 million cubic meters of Turkish water a year to Israel because the transport costs have yet to be decided, the Israeli embassy said. An Israeli delegation met Turkish authorities in Turkey's capital Ankara, but were unable to agree on a final price for the water.
Water is a contentious issue in the Middle East because of its scarcity. Israeli foes Iraq and Syria are largely reliant for drinking water, irrigation and power generation on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, both of which originate in Turkey.
An Israeli embassy official
said the cost of transporting the water from Turkey
by ship to Israel must be ascertained before a final price for the water could be agreed. "Price was only agreed in general terms because we have to know the costs of transportation first," the embassy's press spokesman said.
Israel published a tender on May 21 for the transportation of water imports from Turkey, which the embassy said local and international firms, including Turkish companies, would be invited to bid for on July 4. The tender will close on August 8.
Turkey's plan to export the water to Israel would involve drawing water from the Manavgat River, which crosses no borders, and would meet 2.5 percent of Israel's water needs.
Israel would also need to build a facility to transfer the water from cargo ships. Israel expects the water to start flowing by the beginning of 2003. Turkey and Israel signed
an initial accord over exporting water in January and have been in talks to finalize a deal since then. - (Reuters)