The founding members of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF): Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, signed the statute establishing the body as a regional intergovernmental forum based in Cairo, during an online ceremony on Tuesday 22 September 2020.
While signing the declaration, Cyprus Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said that almost 20 months after Egypt’s initiative calling for such a development, “this day marks a long, strong and fruitful collaboration.”
Pilides called it a “historic day and true milestone” for regional cooperation in energy production and noted that the Forum is open to all countries that have an interest in the region, as long as all the founding members agree unanimously on their participation. She also noted that, any East Mediterranean country can apply for membership while any other state, regional or international organization, can apply to join as an observer.
Moreover, Pilides stated that all seven members of EMGF are: “committed to developing a sustainable regional gas market, whilst minimising the technical, financial and political risks involved …bringing together a range of different stakeholders, from gas producers and investors to traders and financing entities.” She further shared her hopes that this effort will allow the region to make the best possible use of natural gas, always taking into account the environmental objectives and the responsible exploitation.
“Technical and financial support already received by the EU and the World Bank, as well as strong interest expressed by countries such as the US and France, to collaborate, is also concrete evidence of the importance that the Forum already holds,” said Pilides.
Egypt ambassador Mai Taha Khalil said the EMGF countries chose to have gas as a unifying catalyst for cooperation in the region instead of fighting over it. She further highlighted that the speed by which the accord was signed was exceptional, showing the willingness of the regional leaders to cooperate and develop for the prosperity of the Eastern Mediterranean people.
The EMGF will fully respect the rights of its Members over their natural resources and 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. Consequently, this collaboration will lead to the development of a sustainable regional gas market, and unlock the full gas resource potential in the region for the benefit and welfare of its people.