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September 23, 2020 1:14 pm

Normalized Israel-UAE Ties Said to Be ‘Historic Opportunity’ for Middle East Energy Sector

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

An El Al plane is seen on the ground in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 31, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Nir Elias / Pool.

The energy ministers of Israel and the United Arab Emirates discussed possible cooperation and investment opportunities, including natural gas exports to Europe, in a video call on Wednesday, an Israeli statement said.

Israel and the UAE signed an agreement on Sept. 15 to establish diplomatic relations, an accord that Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in the statement presented a “historic opportunity” for energy development in the region.

“I spoke (with the UAE energy minister) on cooperating in linking power grids and developing the natural gas market for exports via pipeline to Europe … as well as other projects,” the statement quoted Steinitz as saying.

The statement, released by Steinitz’s office, said he proposed the UAE join an Egypt-based energy forum that seeks to promote natural gas exports from the east Mediterranean.

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“They (the UAE) said they would examine the issue,” the Israeli statement said.

Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan signed a charter on Tuesday establishing the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF).

The group unites regional rivals of Turkey, which has been locked in a bitter dispute with European Union members Greece and Cyprus over gas drilling rights in the region.

In a report on the Israeli and UAE ministers’ discussion, the UAE state news agency WAM said they spoke about possible investment opportunities in oil, gas and green energy.

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