Middle East trip: Habeck wants to strengthen climate cooperation

Israel, the Palestinian territories and then Jordan – Economics and Climate Protection Minister Habeck visits the Middle East for four days. As always these days, it should also be about energy issues.

Berlin.

On his trip to the Middle East, Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck wants to sound out opportunities for greater cooperation on energy and climate protection.

“In this region in particular, it is becoming clear how much security policy and climate policy must be brought together and how urgent it is to limit global warming to a tolerable level,” said the Economics and Climate Protection Minister before the start of his four-day trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and to Jordan. As of this Monday, he wants to hold talks there on all current political and economic relations, as his ministry had announced.

According to the Green politician, the eastern Mediterranean region is facing major challenges. “Political tensions, social differences, the consequences of the Syrian war and the noticeable effects of the climate crisis are all part of it.” The various crises are intertwined.

Also a new gas field topic

In Israel and the Palestinian territories, Habeck also wants to talk about the development of a new gas field and the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East conflict. “There is still a lack of gas if we want to make ourselves independent of Russia,” said the Economics and Climate Protection Minister on Monday in Berlin shortly before his departure for Israel. Although this question is not the focus of his trip, it will also be discussed.

“Israel also has a large gas field, which is easy to explore,” but a short-term gas export to Europe from there would not be easy to manage due to the lack of infrastructure. Building an infrastructure that would be 2027 finished “and then has to be dismantled again after five years, that doesn’t make any sense,” he pointed out. If, however, cooperation with neighboring countries that have LNG terminals were to come about in the short term, “then that could certainly help”. However, the focus of his trip was the expansion of renewable energies.

Bennett put climate protection on the political agenda

Only when Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office last summer did the issue of climate protection move onto Israel’s political agenda. In October, the government approved a comprehensive climate protection plan. The aim should be climate-friendly innovations, the development of technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and preparation for climate change. Large natural gas fields lie off Israel’s coasts. In view of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the government, together with Greece and Cyprus, wants to re-examine a project for a gas pipeline through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe that has since been abandoned.

Habeck advocated seizing the opportunities “that lie in comprehensive climate protection” and mentioned the expansion of renewable energies, hydrogen production and technological innovations. This could result in new forms of cooperation. “We want to encourage this as much as possible so that there can be growing cooperation within the region and closer cooperation between Germany and the European Union on the one hand and the Eastern Mediterranean on the other. This will be my talks in Israel, the shaping the Palestinian territories and Jordan”, announced Habeck.

Habeck meets politicians and entrepreneurs

During his first visit to Israel, Habeck wants to meet Prime Minister Bennett, Foreign Minister Jair Lapid, Economics and Industry Minister Orna Barbivai and Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, who is also responsible for climate protection. He also wants to meet representatives of Israeli and German companies and civil society. According to his ministry, the focus of the talks is on cooperation in the areas of innovation and technology, energy transition and the climate crisis.

Habeck, who will also visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, emphasized the special responsibility that Germany bears as a result of its history. “The security of Israel is part of the German reason of state. This government is also responsible for this continuity in the policy of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is an immovable part of our actions.”

Onward journey to Palestinian territories and Jordan

Habeck wants to continue traveling to the Palestinian territories on Tuesday. In Ramallah in the West Bank, he wants to talk to the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Schtaje, and Economics Minister Khalid Osaily about the current political situation in the Palestinian territories, the fragile economic situation and challenges in the energy supply. There had recently been protests about rising energy and food prices.

Habeck travels from Ramallah to Jordan, where he takes part in a Jordanian-German energy conference. The “MENA Europe Future Energy Dialogue (MEFED)” is organized jointly by the Jordanian and German governments. Habeck wants to open the event with around 800 participants. According to official information, the topics are the expansion of renewable energies and the hydrogen infrastructure as well as joint climate protection projects.

In Jordan, the minister also wants to find out about the state of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea, which lies between Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, has been falling for years. On the bank, the ground sags in places, sinkholes appear. Habeck also wants to see the second largest refugee camp in the country, Azrak, in Jordan, where around 39.000 Syrian refugees live .

Before Habeck flies back to Germany, he pays a visit to German soldiers who are taking part in the international operation against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) at the Al-Asrak air base. The Bundeswehr has been supporting the anti-IS coalition led by the USA since 2015 in areas such as airspace surveillance and tanker aircraft. (dpa)

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