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At the Egyptian Port of Damietta the Twin Impacts of Russia’s War on Ukraine Converge

Damietta’s grain silos are witness to the shortages of shipments caused by blockades on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. The port is also home to one of Egypt’s two liquefied natural gas terminals, facilities that have moved squarely into Europe’s sights as it races to replace Russian gas. How those dual currents of food security and energy play out in the Arab world’s most populous nation are focusing global attention on Egypt and prompting outside efforts to aid a regional linchpin. As one of the world’s largest wheat importers, Egypt is at risk of bread shortages and associated political unrest that has prompted energy-rich Gulf states to pledge billions of dollars for Cairo. Its nascent LNG capacity adds to the foreign interest in shoring up a strategic partner. Concern is growing about the stability of a nation that is “too big to fail for both Europe and the Gulf,” said Riccardo Fabiani, project director for North Africa with Crisis Group. “Nobody wants to see instability in a country with more than 100 million people that is also a key gas exporter at such a delicate time for global and European energy markets.”