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The Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, headed by Ambassador Munir Zahran, held its annual conference for the year 2020, Sunday, under the slogan “The Egyptian Energy Strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean … Opportunities and Challenges”, with the participation of experts, specialists and diplomats.
The work of the conference took place in three sessions, the first of which discussed the components of Egypt as a regional energy center, and during which 3 papers were presented, the first of which related to hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region and Egypt’s position thereof, and the other on Egypt’s energy infrastructure, including gas liquefaction plants and their capabilities. And the electrical and oil link networks of pipes, refineries, power stations, Sumed facilities and their tanks in the country’s ports.
Conference participants emphasized that there are no other countries in the region that have similar or competitive infrastructure.
The second paper discussed the future of alternative energy in Egypt, and the achievements made in this regard, which strengthened Egypt’s position as a net exporter of energy in the Arab region, Africa, Asia and the European continent, with the potential for future growth, and the progress of renewable and nuclear energy projects..
The third session discussed the demarcation of maritime borders and the sharing of wealth, in accordance with the relevant provisions of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea..
The first paper discussed the maritime border demarcation agreements between the countries of the region, the last of which was the maritime border demarcation agreement between Egypt and Greece in August 2020, which closed the way for Turkey to circumvent the governing international legal rules, such as its signing of a memorandum of understanding with the previous transitional government in Libya, on November 27, 2019. On the delineation of the maritime borders between the two countries, based on an odd interpretation of these rules.
The second paper discussed the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, in terms of its origin, development and objectives, and the central role of Egypt in its establishment, during January 2019, and its diplomatic efforts that led to its transformation into a regional international organization governed by a binding legal framework, which includes seven founding countries, including the State of Palestine. And three member states of the European Union (Cyprus – Greece – Italy).
The third paper examined the complexities of managing energy systems in the region, and the conference discussed the challenges to regional cooperation for the optimal utilization of energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, through three papers. The first dealt with the aggressive Turkish behavior in the region, its provocative maritime policy in the eastern Mediterranean, its dimensions, objectives, and its economic and security implications on the region. The Turkish military intervention in Libya is related to the energy file, its motives and repercussions, and the stances of regional and international powers towards it.
The third paper presented the positions of the major powers on the energy file in the eastern Mediterranean, mainly represented by the European Union, the United States of America, Russia and China, and the geopolitical considerations that govern the roles and positions of these powers on the file.. The speakers praised the Egyptian foreign policy and its achievements in mobilizing the support of all these forces, despite the differences between them in the regional cooperative framework that arose thanks to Cairo’s efforts, represented by the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum..
The conference called on the European Union and the major powers concerned with the security and stability of the region to take firm stances towards the aggressive behavior of the Turkish government, which impedes the optimal utilization of energy resources in the region..
The conference confirmed Egypt’s unprecedented achievements in the eastern Mediterranean region, not only due to considerations of Egypt’s geographical location, but thanks to the convergence of four main factors that were achieved thanks to persistent and wise government efforts, namely: natural gas discoveries in marine areas, economic and financial reform, development of renewable energy resources and the establishment of Electrical interconnection networks. The speakers pointed to the strategic importance of discovering the giant Zohr field in August 2015, which is the largest gas discovery in the region so far, which changed the rules of the game and hastened the convergence of the four factors mentioned..
The conference stressed the utmost importance that Egypt attaches to collective action organized and based on the rules and provisions of international law, in order to optimize the exploitation of the wealth of the Eastern Mediterranean region, and the need to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, and the aggressive Turkish behavior in the region, and its support for terrorist and extremist groups and their ignition of conflicts within states..
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