Israel has started exporting natural gas to its southern neighbor Egypt, the Egyptian Energy Ministry announced on Wednesday.

In a statement, the ministry said the natural gas import from Israel is "an important development which serves the interests of both sides."

According to the agreement which was signed in 2018 and amended at the end of 2019, Israel will export 85 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar reservoirs to Egypt over the next 15 years.

The statement confirmed that the flow of natural gas to Egypt will also enable its export to Europe via liquefied natural gas terminals in the country.

Egypt is the first Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in 1979.