Beyond Energy: The Significance of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

Source: The Institute for National Security Studies

Author(s): Ofir Winter and Gallia Lindenstrauss

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The Energy Ministers of Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority met in Cairo in mid-January 2019 to discuss the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which will serve as the umbrella for cooperation and dialogue regarding the development of gas resources in the region. While the subject of energy is the basis for the forum, there are also broader geostrategic processes that led to its establishment, and they reflect the regional states’ shared perceptions regarding the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean to their national security. The countries of the region could leverage these processes into additional partnerships in the Eastern Mediterranean, beyond the issue of gas resources. However, to serve as a base for long term regional strategic development, the Gas Forum must achieve other objectives: strengthen regional recognition – particularly in Arab countries – of the potential value of cooperative relations in the Eastern Mediterranean that include Israel; increase the human and civic interactions between all peoples of the region; and continue to foster the concept of a shared regional space.

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