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Palestine skips East Mediterranean Gas Forum signing ceremony

Palestine yesterday skipped a virtual ceremony held to sign the charter of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) hosted by Egypt, the WAFA news agency reported.

“We did not participate in the signing ceremony, in implementation of the Palestinian leadership’s decision to cut contacts with Israel,” an informed Palestinian source told the agency.

The source, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said Palestine signed the charter separately at a later time.

“Palestine has not attended the signing ceremony, but as co-founding state, it will not retreat from its membership in any international organization that asserts the Palestinian people’s national and sovereign rights, most notably the right to develop its national assets and natural resources, such as the offshore Gaza gas field, whose development has been hindered by the Israeli occupation authorities for long years,” he said.

Last June, the Palestinian government ratified Palestine’s accession to the forum.

Yesterday, the six member states of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, Israel, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Jordan and Cyprus, signed the charter turning the forum into a regional organization.

The forum was launched in January 2019 to reinforce cooperation among member states.

However, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Hami Aksoy, described the forum as an anti-Ankara bloc, adding that transforming it into a regional organization is “far from reality”.