Egypt welcomes UAE joining Eastern Mediteranean Gas Forum

Egypt welcomes UAE joining Eastern Mediteranean Gas Forum
The energy ministers of Egypt, Greece, Italy, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Cyprus join a photo session during the first ministerial forum of the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum on Jan. 15, 2019. (Twitter photo)
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Updated 17 December 2020

Egypt welcomes UAE joining Eastern Mediteranean Gas Forum

Egypt welcomes UAE joining Eastern Mediteranean Gas Forum
  • Turkey, seen by many Arab states as a troublemaker, is not a member of the forum

CAIRO: Egypt has welcomed the UAE’s entry into the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), according to a spokesman for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Bassam Radi said the Egyptian leader had also expressed the importance of the added value that the UAE would bring to the group.

“The president welcomes the UAE's accession to the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum as an observer, along with the founding member states, expressing the importance of the added value that the UAE will contribute to the forum’s activities to serve strategic interests and enhance cooperation and partnership between the forum countries,”  said Radi.

Talks were held on Wednesday between the Egyptian president and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to discuss issues in the region and issues of cooperation between the two countries.

A high-level EMGF working group held its eighth meeting to discuss organizational matters to activate the forum's activities, including reviewing the position of the headquarters agreement to be concluded between Egypt and the forum, and procedures for adding new members and observers.

The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum said the meeting also discussed the forum's road map during 2021. It included the work plan of the Gas Industry Advisory Committee and the detailed plans of its three technical, economic and organizational subcommittees.

The meeting approved the requests for two additional members to join the committee, bringing the number of members to 29 from the most important companies and institutions concerned with the region’s gas industry, compared to 16 members when it was launched in November last year.

It was the first meeting to be held after the final signing of the forum's charter by the seven founding countries — Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt — in September and its ratification by Egypt’s parliament on Tuesday.

On Sept. 22, the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced the signing of a charter to convert the EMGF into a regional organization based in Cairo. The signing was attended by ministers of the forum.

The organization is interested in strengthening cooperation and developing the political dialogue on natural gas in order to contribute to the economic exploitation of the countries' reserves of the resource.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hami Aksoy, described the EMGF as an anti-Ankara bloc considering its transformation into an international organization.

Turkey is in a dispute with Greece over maritime and energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean.


Pfizer delays Jan. vaccine delivery to Bahrain

Pfizer delays Jan. vaccine delivery to Bahrain
Updated 16 January 2021

Pfizer delays Jan. vaccine delivery to Bahrain

Pfizer delays Jan. vaccine delivery to Bahrain
  • The small island state of Bahrain has the third highest rate of vaccinations per capita in the world so far
DUBAI: A January shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the Gulf state of Bahrain will not arrive on time, the ministry of health said on Saturday, but second doses of the jab already scheduled will not be affected.
The small island state of Bahrain has the third highest rate of vaccinations per capita in the world so far, according to the Our World in Data website, which is run by an Oxford University research program.
“The delay ... will not affect citizens and residents receiving the second dose of the vaccine over the upcoming period, according to current scheduled dates and the availability of the needed quantity for them,” the health ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency BNA.
Bahrain offers its citizens free of charge either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or one manufactured by Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm.
Other Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the emirate of Dubai have also purchased the Pfizer jabs.
US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer this week said there would be a temporary impact on shipments in late January to early February caused by changes to manufacturing processes to boost production.