On 22nd September 2020, Cairo witnessed, the signing of the founding countries of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) on the Statute of the forum, of which officially declares that the forum is an international intergovernmental organization of the Mediterranean region that contributes to developing cooperation in Natural gas domain, as well as achieving optimal exploitation of its resources. The virtual signing ceremony of the statute included Ministers of Petroleum and Energy of the Member Countries; Eng. Tarek El Molla, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Natasa Pilides, Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Kostis Hatzidakis, Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Minister of Energy, Alessandra Todde, Italian State Secretary of Economic Development, Hala Zawati, Jordanian Minister of Energy and Mineral Recourse, as well as Victoria Coates, Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of Energy, and Cristina Lobillo, Energy Director, delegated by the Energy Commissioner of the EU, as an observer. In addition to ambassadors of Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, United States and France to Cairo and Deputy Head of EU delegation to Egypt.
In his speech, during the signing ceremony of the Statute, Eng. Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, declared that the forum is officially a significant international intergovernmental organization of the Mediterranean region, based in Cairo. Adding that, it represents a major breakthrough in its establishment journey that evolved progressively to reach this outstanding position.
The Minister affirmed the significant role of the member countries and their enthusiasm to conclude the Statute in a record time of 20 months and to expedite establishing its bodies, as well as executing its activities, despite the global volatile circumstances, which clearly expresses the founding countries' deep belief in the importance of cooperation.
He added that the Forum is open and looking forward to the membership of other countries in the region, as long as they are in accordance with the Forum's principles and share the same objectives towards a common goal and that is the welfare of the region and its people. It is also imperative to ensure that no aggressive actions are embraced by any country thus hindering and obstructing the prosperity of the region. He pointed out that the EMGF will be acknowledged throughout history as a unique and bold endeavor since it aspires to become an exemption to the historic norm of perceiving the current and prospective energy resources as a motivation to end conflict.
On the basis of trust and solidarity, El Molla pointed out that the founding member countries of the EMGF overcame pitfalls of the past, deciding to jointly overcome all obstacles, barriers, borders and red tape issues.
Moreover, El Molla highlighted the crucial role of the private sector in achieving the EMGF objectives through the Gas Industry Advisory Committee (GIAC), as well as acknowledging the high-level working group efforts in coordinating the EMGF activities and finalizing the Statute.
The Minister concluded that signing the Statute is the beginning to maintain the synergetic approach dialogue to focus on energy for peace, as well as energy for development.
After his speech, Eng. Tarek El Molla, presented a symbolic gift, "Ankh" symbol as the ancient Egyptians called it or "The Key of Life", to the Forum's participants appreciating their efforts.
Ministers of the Forum's countries issued a joint declaration from Cairo today 22 Sep.2020 on the occasion of signing the Forum's Statute, its text came as follows:
SIGNING THE EAST MEDITERRANEAN GAS FORUM STATUTE
The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources hosted today, the 22nd of September, 2020, the signing ceremony of the statute of East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), establishing it as a regional intergovernmental organization, based in Cairo.
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.
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 Nov 2019; as a permanent dialogue platform between Governments and other business partners.
The EMGF will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity, creating an environment of trust, prosperity, stability and neighborly relations through regional energy cooperation.
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, given that they share the same values and objectives of the EMGF and the willingness to cooperate for the welfare of the whole region.
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.
On this occasion the EMGF reiterates its appreciation to Egypt for its initiative calling for the establishment of the EMGF, providing the utmost support as a host country, under the leadership of the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.