UAE joins East Mediterranean gas forum 'as observer'
UAE joins East Mediterranean Gas Forum as observer, Egypt announces
It has been announced that the UAE will join the East Mediterranean Gas Forum as an observer.
The United Arab Emirates has joined the the East Mediterranean Gas Forum as an observer, following a visit by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MBZ) to Cairo.
The forum, which was established by Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, and Jordan, oversees the exploration and production of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
On Tuesday, MBZ met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, where, “The two sides ... [expressed] the importance of the added value that the UAE will contribute to the forum’s activities to serve strategic interests and enhance cooperation and partnership between the forum countries,” according to a statement released by the Egyptian presidency.
The natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean are seen as an vital deposit for a number of countries and have spurred a number of confrontations between countries, mostly notably between Cyprus and Turkey.
The UAE has a strong need for gas imports, which are reinjected into its oilfields to enhance crude production. In 2008 the UAE became a net gas importer.
The East Mediterranean Gas Forum was established in January, and since then, France has also applied for admittance and the United States and the European Union have requested overseer status.
Turkey, which has strongly contested the body's claims over gas in the eastern Mediterranean, has not been invited to join the forum, and in August its foreign ministry released a statement in which it said: "No matter what, Turkey will resolutely continue to protect both her and Turkish Cypriots' rights in the Eastern Mediterranean stemming from international law…No alliance of malice will manage to prevent this. Those who think otherwise have not taken their lessons from history."