Skip to comments.New Mediterranean energy forum launched with Israel as member
Posted on 09/22/2020 8:35:03 AM PDT by SJackson
The forum includes Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Italy.
Energy Ministers of seven countries, including Israels Yuval Steinitz, attended an event launching the new East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) in a virtual event hosted in Cairo on Tuesday morning.
The blessing of gas brings regional cooperation with Arab and European countries, the first of its kind in history, including contracts to export $30 billion of blue-and-white gas to Jordan and Egypt, and thats only the beginning, Steinitz said.
The forum includes Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Italy, whose ambassadors, and Egyptian Energy Minister Tarek al-Mulla, signed the EMGFs charter in Cairo. The ambassadors of countries interested in joining France as a member and the US and EU as observers were also in attendance.
Steinitz and al-Mulla initiated the EMGFs establishment in 2017 following natural gas discoveries off of the coasts of Israel and Egypt. It existed at first to facilitate talks between the different countries, but Tuesdays ceremony established it as an intergovernmental organization. The joint declaration on the EMGFs launch said it aims to serve as a platform that brings together gas producers, consumers and transit countries to create a shared vision and establish a structured systematic policy dialogue on natural gas, leading to the development of a sustainable regional gas market and unlocking the full gas resource potential in the region for the benefit and welfare of its people.
The forum also includes a Gas Industry Advisory Committee, an ongoing dialogue between governments and business partners, to help monetize the gas reserves.
The Energy Ministry said Israels membership in the forum will give it major advantages in promoting shared goals in the natural gas markets development and help Israel export gas to its neighbors and to Europe.
On a diplomatic level, it could contribute to further normalization and ties between Israel and countries in the region, and improve Israels standing with countries with which it already has diplomatic relations.
The EMGF and gas exploration more broadly is a point of tension between Turkey and other countries in the region, especially Greece and Cyprus. Last year, Turkey claimed areas of the Eastern Mediterranean that Greece and Cyprus control are part of its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its exploration and naval activities in those areas has heightened tensions in the region.
The forums launch statement says it will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity, creating an environment of trust and neighborly relations. It also says that any country in the Eastern Mediterranean can apply for membership, and any other country or international organization can apply to be an observer, as long as it shares the EMGFs goals. Gabriel Mitchell, an expert on energy and geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean at Mitvim- The Israeli Institute For Regional Foreign Policies applauded the EMGF charters signing, but warned that recent events have pushed the regions energy dreams farther out of reach.
The pandemic triggered a collapse in global energy prices; international companies have frozen their operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Mitchel said. Today, the region's focus has shifted from energy cooperation to maritime border disputes. Today's signing is meaningful, but muted by the changing economic and geopolitical landscape.
Winning-even if we’re not benefitting directly.
Neutering Iran, empowering Israel, neutralizing the PLO - more winning!
Israeli Technology is key for everyone in the region. Think countries are starting to see what the benefits of allying with Israel will be.
If anyone has a chance to open the Palestinians eyes as to how much they are being used it will be Trump’s. He is that last best chance
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