ATHENS – The leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Jordan will hold a trilateral summit in Amman on 14 April to expand cooperation in the East Mediterranean region, which has strategic significance in the areas of energy and security.
In the second summit between Greece, Cyprus and Jordan, the leaders will focus on means to expand cooperation between the three countries in various fields, mainly economy and investment, and building on the outcomes of the first summit hosted by Cyprus in January 2018 where the three parties signed several agreements, including renewable energy.
Natural Hydrocarbons Company CEO Charles Ellinas told New Europe on 12 April that the summit would boost energy and security partnership in the region.
“This will add to the positive political cooperation developing among the countries of the East Med region,” Ellinas said, reminding that Jordan is already a member of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), along with Cyprus and Greece. “The tripartite will cement this relationship. But even though energy is on the agenda, it will not have any direct bearing on the gas developments in the East Med. Despite political statements on energy cooperation, Cyprus cannot export natural gas to Jordan – it is not feasible,” Ellinas said, adding that, in any case, Jordan has signed deals with Egypt and Israel to secure the gas it needs and it is also importing liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Cyprus, Greece and Egypt and more importantly Cyprus, Greece and Israel, which met on 20 March in Jerusalem with the participation of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have also bolstered cooperation, agreeing to boost the development of energy resources and security in the eastern Mediterranean.
These summits show a bigger involvement of Athens and Nicosia in the Middle East that could benefit the development of the East Med region.
“Greece and Cyprus are two stable democracies in the region and in good terms with most of their neighbors. The challenge of course, is Turkey, which is at odds with almost all its neighbors,” Ellinas quipped.
Washington sources told New Europe this week that the US views Greece as an exporter of stability in an unstable region. They note that NATO-member Greece is in the unique position to reach countries like Jordan and help extend deeper cooperation.
The US and Europe support the involvement of Greece and Cyprus to foster closer cooperation among the countries of the East Mediterranean that could help Europe diversify energy supplies and increase regional security.
“This is developing quite successfully, with the latest addition being Lebanon, with which a tripartite summit has been agreed to take place later in the year,” Ellinas said. The foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon met in Beirut on 10 April, reportedly agreeing to enhance cooperation in the sectors of tourism, education, the economy and trade and strengthening the EU’s relations with Lebanon and bilateral relations. Energy and international concerns were also discussed.
Enhancing regional cooperation and stability in the East Med and Southeast Europe was also discussed during the “East Med infrastructure in the next decade” conference in Athens on 11-12 April with the participation of EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, who outlined measures to reduce C02 emissions from transport and fight climate change.
“Closer cooperation among the countries of the region can only add to peace and stability – much needed in the East Med,” Ellinas said. “In addition to political benefits, it can also help these countries benefit economically through constructive coordination in developing their natural resources, industry, tourism, etcetera, including of course energy,” he added.
The East Med Gas Forum, which is encouraged by the European Union, has been created to promote regional cooperation and development of gas markets in a way that maximises gas utilisation and transport infrastructure in the region.
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