On September 17, 2019 in Washington, DC, the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan co-hosted the first Energy Pillar Working Group meeting under the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) framework. Mr. Frank R. Fannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State, opened the proceedings with the co-chair of the MESA Energy Pillar Working Group, Ambassador Khalid Shawabkah, Director of International Relations and Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Delegations including representatives from the foreign, energy, petroleum, investment, development, and planning ministries from seven countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates — and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretariat participated. The delegation of the United States included representatives from the Department of State, the Department of Energy, the National Security Council, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Export-Import Bank.
Assistant Secretary Fannon welcomed the delegations and reiterated the primary objectives of the MESA Energy Pillar. Assistant Secretary Fannon underscored the intention of MESA partner countries to create a more diverse and secure energy mix and to reinforce regional trade and economic development.
Building on the momentum of the inaugural high-level MESA meeting in Muscat, Oman on January 9, 2019, Ambassador Khalid Shawabkah for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stressed the strategic importance of the Middle East for global stability and the central role energy cooperation and integration play in promoting regional security and prosperity. Ambassador Shawabkah also stressed the importance of this pillar as an integral part of MESA’s architecture and highlighted the value of following an integrated approach in implementing MESA’s mandate utilizing the natural interdependency between economics, security, and political stability to maximize synergies. Sharing some of Jordan’s experiences and challenges, Ambassador Shawabkah alluded to Jordan’s diversified energy supply, notably its large share of renewable energy, and lauded the Working Group’s priority to strengthen interconnections on a regional scale as a means to bolster the stability and resilience of energy systems. He added MESA has provided a framework for projects, diplomatic engagements, and other targeted interventions that over time will enhance the business environment and attract new investments to power economic growth and bolster the energy capabilities of the MESA countries.
The U.S. delegation delivered presentations on the importance of energy security including diversification of routes and sources, and presented an all-of-the-above strategy that includes a variety of energy sources as well as specific interconnection projects in the region that enhance resiliency, allow for integration, and increase efficiency across borders.
In the coming months, the MESA partner governments intend to engage to advance the remaining three focus areas for energy cooperation and convene Working Group meetings. The American and Jordanian Co-Chairs praised the MESA delegations for their constructive participation and willingness to share their experiences, address shared energy challenges, and discuss plans and projects that increase regional stability, security, and prosperity.
For further information, contact Donald Kilburg, Spokesperson for the Bureau of Energy Resources, at KilburgDF@america.gov or visit www.state.gov/e/enr. Additional information is available on Twitter at @EnergyAtState.