The people of the Eastern Mediterranean have long been connected by a rich exchange in commerce and ideas that transcended conflicts and empires. In recent years, the region has received renewed international attention after the discovery of large oil and gas deposits. Against the backdrop of long-standing legal and political disputes, hydrocarbon exploitation has sparked new tensions and regional security dynamics. Despite its substantial common history and heritage, the Eastern Mediterranean is rarely thought of us as a distinct region, and the states along its coast have no inclusive multilateral cooperation between them.
Launched in 2020, the Eastern Mediterranean Initiative (EMI) is a track II dialogue process that brings together experts and former officials from around the Eastern Mediterranean region as well as external observers. Convened by the GCSP, the EMI aims to promote a peaceful and prosperous Eastern Mediterranean by building trust and understanding of shared interests. Its long-term ambition is to pave the way for structured cooperation and conflict prevention mechanisms.
The members of the EMI have jointly elaborated ideas and suggestions to address the key issues in the Eastern Mediterranean. To learn more about the EMI and its early achievements, join us for two exciting panel discussions on 16 October 2023, at 11h00-14h15.
Opening remarks will be delivered by Thomas Greminger, Director of the GCSP; and Didier Pfirter, Special Envoy of Switzerland for the Eastern Mediterranean.
The discovery of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean has led to major tensions between coastal states. The lack of agreements on maritime boundaries is their main cause. Yet, new discoveries could also be a catalyst for overcoming long standing differences, as strikingly illustrated by the maritime agreement signed in 2022 between Israel and Lebanon. Could this inspire others in the region? Could maritime delimitation principles developed by the EMI assist them?
- Ms Laury Haytayan, MENA Director, Natural Resource Governance Institute
- Dr Ahmed Kandil, Head of the International Affairs Unit and Head of Energy Studies Program, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Cairo
- Dr Talha Köse, Director of SETA Brussels Office and Professor of International Relations at Istanbul University
- Dr Constantinos Yiallourides, Assistant Professor of Public International Law, Macquarie University Sydney
Watch Panel 2 on Towards a Regional Political Framework