East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) Formally Established!
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East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) Formally Established!

East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) Formally Established!

On September 22, 2020, the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources hosted the signing ceremony of the statute of East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), establishing it as a regional intergovernmental organization, based in Cairo. Six states signed the charter, giving formal status to a group that seeks to promote natural gas exports from the Eastern Mediterranean.

The six-state includes; Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, and Jordan. The Palestinian Authority is also part of the forum, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement.

According to the Egyptian Ministry, "The EMGF 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."

Image Attribute: Joint Declaration - Signing The East Mediterranean Gas Forum Statute / Source: Egypt Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources

Image Attribute: Joint Declaration - Signing The East Mediterranean Gas Forum Statute / Source: Egypt Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources

Ministry further added, "The EMGF will fully respect the rights of its Members over their natural resources in accordance with international law. It will support their efforts to monetize their reserves, utilize the existing and future gas infrastructure through interactive cooperation with the gas industry and other stakeholders; including investors, traders, financing entities. To this effect, the Gas Industry Advisory Committee (GIAC) was established under the EMGF in November 2019; as a permanent dialogue platform between Governments and other business partners. It will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity, creating an environment of trust, prosperity, stability, and good neighborly relations through regional energy cooperation."

"To this end and according to the relevant provisions of its Statute", the EMGF is open for any East Mediterranean country to apply for membership and for any other country, regional, or international organization to apply to join as an observer provided that - "they share the same values and objectives of the EMGF and the demonstrable willingness to cooperate on the basis of international law for the security of the whole region and the welfare of its peoples." In this context, "The EMGF appreciates the constructive responses and extensive support it has received, as reflected in the interest of many international parties and organizations to engage in its activities and in the fruitful collaboration with international partners, such as the EU and the World Bank." 

As of now, France has applied to join, with the United States and European Union requesting observer status. Whereas, this latest development can be considered as a blow to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions in the Mediterranean. Turkey has been trying to disrupt this kind of cooperation by all means and methods, such as signing two naval and security memoranda of understanding with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) months ago to use them as a pretext for gas exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

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