Jerusalem, 26 April 1999

Joint Israel-Egypt-Cyprus-Palestinian Anti-Pollution Exercise

(Communicated by the Environment Ministry Spokesman)

In cooperation with Egypt and Cyprus, Israel will, on Thursday, 29.4.99, participate in an international exercise as part of a mutual assistance program in the event of crude oil spills. Palestinian representatives will also take part. During the exercise, aircraft and ships will spray special dispersant chemicals that break up spilled crude oil.

Israel, Egypt and Cyprus signed the cooperation agreement in 1995, in the framework of the Barcelona treaty to protect the Mediterranean from pollution. The agreement requires countries to assist their neighbors in the event of oil spills from tanker accidents or other causes. A number of exercises and joint training courses have been held by the three countries; it is Israel’s turn to host its partners for a four-day professional course being held in Haifa. Six representatives from each country, and three Palestinians, will be attending courses given by experts from Norway, the United Kingdom and the UN-associated organization, REMPEC, which is responsible for international cooperation between Mediterranean countries on issues of oil and chemical pollution.

The training exercise will leave from the Carmelit Pier in Haifa at 08:45, and is expected to return at about 13:00.