US, Israel, UAE to Co-operate on Energy
The governments of the US, Israel and the UAE have agreed to co-operate in the energy sector, the US department of energy (DoE) announced on October 1. The pact comes after Israel and the UAE signed a US-brokered peace deal in September, normalising their relationship.
The three countries "agree to encourage greater co-ordination in the energy sector, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas resources and related technologies, and water desalination technologies," their energy ministers said in a joint statement published by the DoE.
Israeli-Arab relations have been improving over recent years amid shared concerns about Iran and its efforts to expand Shia influence in the region, its support for Yemen's Houthi rebels and its purported involvement in attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure last year.
Israel's peace agreements last month with the UAE and also Bahrain were only its third and fourth such deals with Arab states since declaring its independence in 1948. Earlier deals were reached with Egypt and Jordan, although the UAE and Bahrain are the first Gulf Arab countries to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel.
Israel has also agreed a "framework" agreement with Lebanon on negotiating an end to a long-running maritime border dispute between the two countries, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Nabih Berri, announced on October 1. The two countries, which remain technically at war since the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli contract, have overlapping territorial claims in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean Sea.