On 16th January 2020, at the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of EMGF, Mr. Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, asserted that the success of the forum is considered a strong evidence of the mutual vision of the founding members to promote prosperity and stability in the East Mediterranean, especially after the recent repercussions in the region. He pointed out that signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Turkey and Libya is a proof of Turkey's strategy of violating the international laws. In addition, the main objective of establishing the forum is the full control of gas resources, as well as cooperation for all peoples' benefit, according to rules respecting the members' rights. He also affirmed that the forum will contribute to solving problems facing companies to operate in the economic zones.
Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry during his Speech at EMGF
For his part, Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis, Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, praised working on turning the Forum into an international organization, with an integrated structure achieving its members' benefits in exploiting their natural resources. He asserted the members' commitment to solve any disputes according to the international law and discussions, pointing that this message should reach Turkey, in order to expand this cooperation, to include Turkey, with a precondition, which is respecting the international law, not working from one side and illegally in the economic zone of Cyprus.
He pointed out that the intergovernmental agreement among Greece, Cyprus, and Israel for the East Med gas pipeline project is the fruitful result of cooperation among different parties in the region. He expressed his interest in joining Italy or other countries to this project, highlighting the current challenges. He also praised the cooperation with the EU, that should continue and increase for the benefit of the region. He confirmed Greece's commitment to the EU ambitious plan for reducing emissions and carbon by using gas and renewable energy, moreover, there are positive developments in the environment domain and preserving it. The forum is also taking into consideration the renewable energies besides gas, on top of which comes, hydrogen, as the fuel of the future.
Greek Minister of Environment and Energy during his Speech at EMGF
For his part, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Minister of Energy, clarified that the Forum's main objective is providing a platform for constructive cooperation and dialogue among the member countries, pointing out that starting pumping the natural gas from Israel to Egypt enhances cooperation between both countries, and bolsters the Egyptian status as a regional hub for trading and exchanging gas. He also highlighted that the Mediterranean is a public ownership, and no country can possess it or prevent shipping operations and transferring gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe, explaining that this is the response to a question about the procedures taken towards Turkey if it prevents the path in the Mediterranean, pointing out that the economic zone is not an international region and no country can control it. He hopes that the forum will contribute to developing Gaza Marine natural gas field this year, despite the political disagreements, for the benefit of the Palestinian people. The forum well also play an international role in the future, as the economic forces participating in its work such as the U.S, France, the EU and the World Bank, believe in the capabilities of the East Mediterranean region, pointing out the significance of cooperation with Egypt and exporting LNG to Europe through the Egyptian liquefaction plants and that Israel is interested in reducing emissions & carbon rates polluting the air. Further, the year 2025 will witness total dependence on gas and solar energy instead of coal and fuel oil.
Israeli Minister of Energy during his Speech at EMGF
For his part, Dr. Mohamed Mostafa, Palestinian President's Senior Advisor for Economic affairs, on behalf of H.E Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, the President of Palestine, thanked H.E President Abdel Fatah El Sisi, for his support and follow up to the forum. In addition, the East Mediterranean region witnessed, after the discovery of natural gas, major economic transformations that necessitate excessive efforts to contribute to achieving prosperity for the peoples of the region. Moreover, it is important to develop the Palestinian gas field, despite the challenges confronting that.
Palestinian President’s Senior Advisor for Economic Affairs during his Speech at EMGF