Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed visited Cairo Dec. 17 for talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. A presidential assertion mentioned the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined the Japanese Mediterranean Fuel Discussion board (EMGF) as an observer.
“Sisi [underlined] the significance of the added worth that the UAE will contribute to the discussion board’s actions to serve the strategic pursuits and improve cooperation and partnership between the discussion board nations,” the assertion mentioned.
The EMGF was established as an intergovernmental group by Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Jordan and Palestine. Founders say the discussion board goals to facilitate talks amongst Mediterranean nations about exporting pure fuel, cooperating on numerous power points and advancing the development of an undersea pipeline that will switch fuel to the south of Europe.
France has utilized to hitch the Cairo-based discussion board, whereas america and the European Union requested observer standing.
Vitality-hungry Turkey has denounced the EMGF as an try and exclude it from the fuel equation within the Japanese Mediterranean. In August, Ankara dispatched its seismic survey vessel, Oruc Reis, right into a disputed space within the Japanese Mediterranean to seek for oil and fuel deposits, triggering an outcry from NATO member Greece and the EU.
Observers who spoke to Al-Monitor mentioned the UAE membership within the EMGF will present a enhance to efforts geared toward countering Turkish actions within the Mediterranean.
Mohamed Orabi, former Egyptian minister of international affairs and chairman of the Overseas Relations Committee in parliament, mentioned the EMGF and different financial groupings would be the engine of political developments within the area within the coming years.
“Abu Dhabi and Cairo are enjoying a big function in thwarting the Turkish expansionist insurance policies within the area,” Orabi advised Al-Monitor. “The UAE membership within the fuel discussion board and its political weight will add to the discussion board’s function sooner or later and assist it counter the Turkish fuel ambitions within the space,” he added.
The Egyptian presidency mentioned talks between Sisi and Zayed “confirmed a mutual understanding on [the need] to pursue joint efforts to deal with dangers that threaten the safety and stability of the area.”
In 2019, Turkey signed a controversial maritime jurisdiction settlement with Libya’s Tripoli-based Authorities of Nationwide Accord (GNA), to the fury of Egypt, Greece and Cyprus, who mentioned the deal infringes on their financial rights within the Mediterranean.
Turkish navy help to the GNA has additionally drawn the ire of Egypt, which threatened in June to militarily intervene in Libya if the Turkish-backed GNA forces continued to advance on the oil-rich metropolis of Sirte.
Egypt and the UAE are the principle backers of japanese Libyan strongman Khalifa Hifter, whose forces are combating the GNA.
Ramadan Abul Ela, a professor of petroleum engineering at Pharos College in Alexandria, mentioned the UAE and Egypt are lively in countering Turkey’s insurance policies within the area.
“The UAE membership within the discussion board will assist additional improve coordination among the many discussion board nations with a view to ending Turkish provocations,” Abul Ela advised Al-Monitor.
Abul Ela, nonetheless, opined that the UAE membership within the discussion board was a “political message” somewhat than a transfer that will render financial advantages.
“The Emirati participation within the fuel discussion board primarily aimed to refute current allegations about pressure between Egypt and the UAE over the Gulf state’s rapprochement with Israel,” Abul Ela mentioned. “Egypt’s announcement that the UAE has joined the EMGF reveals that political coordination between the 2 allies remains to be sturdy and that the UAE relations with Israel don’t have an effect on its relationship with Egypt.”
On Aug. 13, Sisi welcomed the UAE-Israel normalization deal and its provisions, which included a suspension of Israeli plans to annex elements of the Palestinian West Financial institution. Sisi additionally referred to as Zayed to congratulate him on the settlement.
In October, state-owned Israeli firm EAPC mentioned it had signed a preliminary settlement with MED-RED Land Bridge in Abu Dhabi to move oil from the UAE to Europe via a pipeline that connects the Purple Sea metropolis of Eilat to the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon, bypassing Egypt’s Suez Canal.
Abul Ela mentioned there’s already the Sumed pipeline in Egypt, which carries oil merchandise from the Ain Sukhna terminal within the Gulf of Suez close to the Purple Sea to the offshore Sidi Kerir in Alexandria on the Mediterranean.
“When studies emerged about Emirati-Israeli coordination to move oil from the Gulf to Europe, this has given the impression that there was pressure within the relationship between Egypt and the UAE,” Abul Ela mentioned. “The UAE membership within the discussion board, nonetheless, despatched a powerful political message that the Egyptian-Emirati relations stay sturdy, even after the Gulf state’s normalization settlement with Israel.”