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Palestinian Authority vetoes UAE bid to join Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum: reports

UAE-Palestinian ties have become increasingly strained over Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 March, 2021

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The UAE's bid for observer status was reportedly rejected after after it was quashed by the Palestinian Authority's representative.
The Palestinian Authority [PA] on Tuesday vetoed the UAE's bid to join the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), according to Israeli media reports.

The PA reportedly used its veto to block the UAE's entry into the forum due to its normalisation of ties with Israel.

The move came as a surprise to members of the forum, who asked the Palestinian representative if he was willing to abstain, according to sources involved in the forum who spoke to Israel's Kan 11 news.

The forum admits members by unanimous decision only, causing the UAE's bid for observer status to be rejected.

Tensions have run high between the PA and the UAE, intensified by the Israel and the Gulf state's signing of the so-called Abraham Accords last year in Washington, sparking a flurry of diplomatic activity between Israel and Arab countries.

Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan have since agreed to normalise relations with Israel.

The PA views the deal as undermining efforts for a two-state solution.

In Tuesday's meeting, the EMGF reportedly admitted France as a member and granted the US observer status. A statement from the forum quoted by the Forbes magazine's Greek-language website announced the new admissions, without mention of the Palestinian veto.

"Further, the meeting discussed the formal requests submitted by countries wishing to join the Forum, where France became a new full member, while the Forum agreed to welcome the United States of America as an observer country," the official statement quoted by Forbes read.

The EMGF was formed in January 2020 by Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority to promote natural gas exports from the region. The group also brings together countries critical of Turkey's drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Israel's involvement in the group is said to strengthen its ties with Arab states.

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