How to Fix East Med Border Disputes

The Eastern Mediterranean is once again at the center of what can go wrong when countries fail to resolve decades-old disputes over offshore Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). On the face of it, the latest Greece-Turkey skirmish makes little sense now other than playing to domestic audiences and putting down markers to ensure a future piece of whatever this natural gas-rich part of the world has to offer. In today’s brutal economic climate, few energy companies are lining up to undertake new projects, which means it will take longer for actual production to begin under the best circumstances. What’s more, Turkey may not have the financial wherewithal or capacity to do the exploration and development work on its own, and no private energy company is likely to invest serious capital in a project that can be tied up for years by competing EEZ claims. This maximalist approach to solving maritime disputes will not work. Equitable results, perhaps based on the equidistance principle — a methodology endorsed by the 1994 UN Convention for Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) — would be the best way forward for settling the Greece-Turkey maritime boundary dispute.

The development of Israel’s huge Leviathan natural gas field is a model studied closely by others in this region. Texas-based Noble Energy, which is now merging with Chevron, discovered Leviathan 10 years ago and quickly recognized that it was not only a world-class field, but that it needed an EEZ treaty for development to proceed without being contested by Cyprus. Noble carried out its own internal Law of the Sea desktop study, which became the basis for Israel’s EEZ treaty with Cyprus. It also issued an ultimatum to the Israelis that no further exploration would take place until the EEZ deal was finalized. This pressure from Noble not only prompted the Israeli government to conclude a treaty with Cyprus, it did so in a document that explicitly states Israel must adhere to UNCLOS rules despite not being a signatory of the treaty. That in itself is an enormous change with broad economic implications.

While four of the seven recognized coastal states (Greece, Turkey, Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt), are not signatories to the treaty, there is now a general understanding that even non-signatories to UNCLOS are increasingly ready to abide by its principles in settling disputes. The real threat to the East Mediterranean’s prospects as an energy hub is politics, specifically the zero-sum games that have constricted and warped regional interactions. The best way to proceed is an orderly process in which Mediterranean maritime boundaries are fully delineated and individual countries are free to develop the resources within their respective EEZs. The UNCLOS contains a comprehensive rulebook for the fair and equitable resolution of such disputes by subjecting them to consistent legal standards and detailed scientific observations.

Necessary Conditions

Given the UNCLOS, the obvious question is: Why are we still talking about unresolved maritime boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean? The short answer is that until recently few of the necessary conditions were in place. Since its inception, both technology and case law have evolved. Old colonial-era charts were highly unreliable, with depictions of even easily observable shoreline features off by a kilometer or more. New, accurate technological mapping has removed much of the guesswork. The outcome of any legal process based on UNCLOS can now be predicted with considerable reliability.

The Israel-Cyprus treaty has itself been challenged by Lebanon, which has alleged that its neighbors used faulty coordinates for its shoreline border with Israel, thereby mistakenly locating the offshore “tripoint” among the three countries’ respective EEZs several kilometers from where it should be. But Israel has agreed to be bound by UNCLOS standards, making resolution possible. The situation also makes clear that precision mapping technology — now at the disposal of any government willing to pay for a Law of the Sea study — has finally established a clear, objective basis for discussion.

In what could be a valuable point for both Turkey and Greece, this crucial degree of accuracy, often down to sub-meter measurements, should make it easier for governments to sell any agreements they reach to their respective publics. It also leaves too little room for naysayers at home or abroad to accuse anyone of backing down or selling out. German efforts to reconcile the interests of Turkey and Greece are commendable, and with precision mapping accuracy both governments can reduce economic and political pressure while simultaneously demonstrating the potential advantages of reconciliation.

Clear Benefits

The Eastern Mediterranean’s emergence as an oil and gas hub promises a cure for the region’s poverty and instability. The first discoveries were located in uncontested waters off Egypt and Israel, so development was fairly straightforward. In addition, most of the deposits were in the form of natural gas, whose cleaner properties and growing ubiquity as a global commodity, may give it better medium- and long-term market prospects than oil.

These discoveries and others that could follow are critical for the growing economies in the region, which need greater energy diversity and independence. Commercial interest in these resources also remains strong. Noble’s East Mediterranean gas interests are considered one of the prize assets that Chevron was after in its bid. The energy majors already invested in offshore Cyprus, including the Exxon Mobil/Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Total/Eni consortia, have postponed — not canceled — exploratory drilling in their respective blocks. The involvement of QP is also a signal of long-term stability. As one of the world’s most deep-pocketed national oil companies, its gas strategy is measured in decades, as Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi likes to say.

Even with the current extraordinary economic circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, for which few companies and governments were prepared, the East Med should remain attractive and financially appealing going forward. The resources are still there and, while their current market value has been diminished, the potential deposits are still highly prized assets whose development, extraction and sale can be expected to generate many hundreds of billions of dollars over several decades. Despite the increasing competitiveness of renewables, the ubiquity and low carbon profile of gas will keep it in the global energy mix for years to come.

Roudi Baroudi is CEO of Energy and Environment Holding, an independent consultancy in Doha. His recent book, “Maritime Disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Way Forward,” is published by the Transatlantic Leadership Network and distributed by the Brookings Institution Press.

Debra Cagan is the Distinguished Energy Fellow at the Transatlantic Leadership Network. She is a former career US State Department and Defense Department official, having served from the Reagan to the Trump administrations.




MTV – Turkey-Greece conflict in eastern Mediterranean




الحدود البحرية الجنوبية الأشد تعقيداً بارودي: يحقّ للبنان أكثر ممّا يُعرض عليه في المفاوضات

من خلال خط يتوسّط الخطّين الأحاديين المعلنين من الطرفين، يتبيّن أنّ من حق لبنان بسط سيادته على رقعة أكبر من تلك التي حدّدها خط هوف، أو التي عرضت خلال المفاوضات مع الجانب الأميركي، ويمكنه بالقانون الاستحصال على ما لا يقل عن %55 من المنطقة المتنازع عليها.

في الأوّل من كانون الثاني 2007، وقّع لبنان وقبرص معاهدة ثنائية لترسيم الحدود المواجهة للدولتين، لكنها لم تقرّ في مجلس النواب اللبناني اعتراضاً على اتفاق ترسيم الحدود البحرية بين قبرص وإسرائيل الموقّع في كانون الأوّل 2010 ولا سيّما النقطة 23 جنوباً، وبالتالي لم تدخل حيّز التنفيذ. يبلغ طول خط الحدود البحرية بين لبنان وقبرص نحو 158.8 كلم ويتألف من 6 نقاط تحوّل أساسية، وحُدِّدت من خلال اعتماد الخط ذاته الإحداثيات المتساوية في المساحة البحرية المواجهة لكل من لبنان وقبرص، واستخدمت مخطّطات بحرية دقيقة وقاعدة بيانات متطوّرة للمعلومات الجغرافية.

في دراسة وضعها الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة الطاقة والبيئة القابضة والخبير في صناعة الطاقة رودي بارودي ونشرها معهد عصام فارس في الجامعة الأميركية، يغوص بارودي في تاريخ ملف ترسيم الحدود البحرية اللبنانية، فلبنان أعلن ترسيماً أحاديّاً لحدوده البحرية الشمالية مع سوريا خلال عملية تقسيم المياه الإقليمية إلى بلوكات، وتمّ ايداع نسخة من الترسيم في مكتب شؤون المحيطات وقانون البحار في الأمم المتّحدة على رغم عدم توقيع سوريا اتفاق الأمم المتحدة لقانون البحار واتفاق جنيف 1958، ويعتقد بارودي الذي تحدث لـ”النهار” أنّه تمّ استخدام قواعد الخط ذات الاحداثيات المتساوية (Strict Equidistance geodetic line) خلال ترسيم الحدود، واعتماد خطوط الأساس العادية (Basic Normal Baselines) للبنان وعلى الأرجح خطوط السواحل (Basic Coastlines) لسوريا.

تظهر الخرائط المرفقة تداخل البلوكات البحرية لكلا البلدين، إذ تخرق البلوكات اللبنانية المياه الإقليمية السورية بنحو 1.7 كلم، فيما تخرق البلوكات السورية المياه الإقليمية اللبنانية بنحو 15.3 كلم، وينتج من ذلك مساحة متداخلة تقدّر بنحو 832 كلم2 بحاجة إلى إعادة ترسيم.

يفصل بين الدولتين النهر الكبير شمالاً، وفي حالات مماثلة تحدّد القوانين الدولية منتصف النهر (أو فم النهر المطلّ على البحر) كمركز للحدود الفاصلة بين البلدين. وبالتالي، أعادت الدراسة التي يفندها بارودي لـ”النهار” تحديد نقطة التقاء البرّ بالبحر أو المعروفة بـ (Land Terminus Point) النجمة الصفراء كمنطلق لترسيم الحدود البحرية، وليس السياج التقني الحدودي الفاصل بين لبنان وسوريا (النجمة الزرقاء)، الذي يبعد نحو 40 متراً شمالاً ويقع داخل الأراضي السورية وتحديداً عند المعبر الحدودي من الجهة الشمالية للنهر. بعد ذلك، تنطلق الدراسة من هذه النقطة لتحديد خط الحدود البحري بين لبنان وسوريا، الذي يبلغ طوله نحو 131.4 كلم ويتألف من20 نقطة تحوّل أساسية وصولاً إلى نقطة الإلتقاء الثلاثية trijunction point.

لبنان – إسرائيل

تُعتبر الحدود البحرية بين لبنان والعدو الإسرائيلي الأشد تعقيداً، ليس فقط لأن إسرائيل لم توقّع اتفاق الأمم المتحدة لقانون البحار فحسب، بل أيضاً لأن الدولتين في حالة حرب، وهو ما يرتّب اللجوء إلى وساطة دولية لترسيم الحدود الجنوبية اللبنانية، وأخذ الخط الأزرق المرسّم من قبل الأمم المتحدة على البر في الاعتبار. في العام 2007، اعتمد لبنان في مباحثاته مع قبرص على خط “مبهم البداية والنهاية” بحجّة موافقة الطرف الثالث (أي إسرائيل)، ولم تمّ تحديد النقطة المتساوية الأبعاد ما بين قبرص ولبنان وفلسطين المحتلّة (Trijunction point) بشكل دقيق، والتي عُرفت بالنقطة 23. عام 2010، اقتنص العدو الفرصة خلال المفاوضات مع الجانب القبرصي، فثبّت النقطة 23 في مكانها، ما خلق منطقة متنازعا عليها مساحتها نحو 879 كلم2.

منذ ذلك الحين، بدأت الوساطات الدولية لحلّ النزاع، وكُرّس الجانب الأميركي كوسيط مفاوض من خلال نائب وزير الخارجية الأميركي لشؤون الطاقة في حينه فريديريك هوف وخليفته آموس هوكشتاين، فزيارات مكّوكية للسفير ديفيد هيل وصولاً الى مساعد وزير الخارجية لشؤون الشرق الأوسط ديفيد شنكر، وتمحورت جميعها حول عروض لتقاسم المنطقة بين الدولتين بأشكال مختلفة من دون التوصل إلى حلّ، إلى أن أعلن شنكر أخيراً أن “الكرة في الملعب اللبناني وأن على اللبنانيين أن يتنازلوا عن رفضهم لإطار الاتفاق ويتحرّكوا إلى الأمام”.

تنطلق الدّراسة من إعادة تحديد نقطة التقاء البرّ بالبحر أو المعروفة بـLand Terminus Point، وترتكز على نقطة بداية الخطّ الأزرق على البرّ في أعالي تلّةٍ صخريّة معروفة بـBP.1 وامتدادها في البحر. وتظهر الصورة المرفقة نقطة الالتقاء هذه باعتبارها المنطلق نحو ترسيم الحدود البحرية، في حين أن النقطة التي حدّدتها اسرائيل (النقطة 31 البحرية) تقع على مسافة 38م شمال غرب هذه النقطة داخل الأراضي اللبنانية، بينما النقطة التي يحدّدها لبنان تبعد 62 م عن الـLTP المعتمد في هذه الدراسة. من هنا يؤكد بارودي الدور المهم الذي يمكن أن تلعبه قبرص في تحديد نقطة الالتقاء الثلاثية trijunction point من الجهة المقابلة لحسم خطّ الحدود الفاصل. ولكن باستخدام قواعد الخط ذات الاحداثيات المتساوية (Strict Equidistance geodetic line) التي تعتمد عليها المحاكم الدّولية ونقطة ارتكاز أي وساطة، وكذلك أحدث الصور والخرائط والوسائل التقنية، تمّ تحديد حدود بحرية افتراضية بين البلدين تربط بين الـLTP وامتدادها نحو الحدود البحريّة مع قبرص بطول يبلغ نحو 128.1 كلم وفيه 6 نقاط تحوّل أساسية. بالنتيجة، تقسّم المنطقة المتنازع عليها بين 475 كلم2 (54%) للبنان و400 كلم2 (46%) لإسرائيل، من خلال خط يتوسّط الخطّين الأحاديين المعلنين من الطرفين. وبالتالي، يتبيّن أنّ من حق لبنان بسط سيادته على رقعة أكبر من تلك التي حدّدها خط هوف، أو التي عرضت خلال المفاوضات مع الجانب الأميركي، ويمكنه بالقانون الاستحصال على ما لا يقل عن 55% من المنطقة المتنازع عليها.

من هنا، تبيّن هذه الدراسة الدور الذي يمكن أن تلعبه السلطات اللبنانية من خلال القنوات الديبلوماسية والحوار مع جميع الوسطاء على أساس علمي وعادل، استباقاً لأي شروط قد تفرض خلال المحادثات مع صندوق النقد الدولي.




Différends Maritimes en Méditerranée Orientale: Comment en Sortir

Les différends de frontières maritimes en Méditerranée orientale empêchent l’exploitation raisonnée des récentes découvertes énergétiques dans la région :
un nouveau livre montre comment résoudre pacifiquement les conflits frontaliers maritimes.

L’ouvrage se présente comme une feuille de route pour aider les pays côtiers à exploiter les ressources offshore

Un nouveau livre de l’expert en politique de l’énergie Roudi Baroudi met en lumière des mécanismes souvent négligés qui pourraient aider à désamorcer les tensions et débloquer des milliards de dollars en pétrole et en gaz.

“Maritime Disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean: the Way Forward” («Différends Maritimes en Méditerranée Orientale: Comment en Sortir») -distribué par Brookings Institution Press- décrit le vaste cadre juridique et diplomatique dont disposent les pays qui cherchent à résoudre les conflits de frontières maritimes. Dans ce livre, M. Baroudi passe en revue l’émergence et l’influence (croissante) de la Convention des Nations unies sur le droit de la mer (CNUDM), dont les règles et les normes sont devenues la base de pratiquement toutes les négociations et de tous les accords maritimes. Il explique également comment les progrès récents de la science et de la technologie, notamment dans le domaine de la cartographie de précision, ont accru l’impact des lignes directrices de la CNUDM en éliminant les conjectures de tout processus de règlement des différends fondé sur celles-ci.

Comme le titre l’indique, l’ouvrage se concentre en grande partie sur la Méditerranée orientale, où les récentes découvertes de pétrole et de gaz ont souligné le fait que la plupart des frontières maritimes de la région restent discutées. L’incertitude qui en résulte ralentit non seulement l’utilisation des ressources en question (et le réinvestissement des recettes pour lutter contre la pauvreté et d’autres problèmes de société), mais augmente également le risque d’un ou plusieurs conflits meurtriers. M. Baroudi fait toutefois remarquer que, tout comme ces problèmes et leurs conséquences existent dans le monde entier, leur résolution juste et équitable dans une région pourrait contribuer à restaurer la croyance qu’ont les peuples et leurs dirigeants dans le multilatéralisme, et servir ainsi d’exemple.

Si les pays de la Méditerranée orientale acceptaient, en vertu des règles de la CNUDM, de régler leurs différends de manière juste et équitable, écrit-il, “cela donnerait une chance de démontrer que l’architecture de sécurité collective de l’après-guerre reste non seulement une approche viable mais aussi une approche vitale… Cela montrerait au monde entier qu’aucun obstacle n’est trop grand, aucune inimitié si ancrée et aucun souvenir si amer qu’il ne puisse-t-être surmonté en suivant les règles de base auxquelles tous les États membres des Nations unies ont souscrit en y adhérant: la responsabilité de régler les différends sans violence ou menace de violence”.

Le livre rappelle, de manière générale et spécifique, qu’il existe des leviers permettant d’uniformiser les règles du jeu diplomatique, une contribution utile à un moment où l’ensemble du concept de multilatéralisme est attaqué par certains des pays qui ont autrefois défendu sa création. L’ouvrage est écrit dans un style engageant, empruntant à plusieurs disciplines -de l’histoire et de la géographie au droit et à la cartographie- le rendant accessible et d’intérêt pour tous, des universitaires et des décideurs politiques aux ingénieurs et au grand public.

En attendant sa parution papier, ainsi que sa traduction en français prévue dans les prochaines semaines, le livre est disponible au format e-book. Dans le contexte actuel qui a forcé les maisons d’édition à adapter leur stratégie de lancement, l’ouvrage a fait l’objet ce jeudi d’un lancement organisé par TLN via zoom, avec la participation autour de l’auteur, de deux représentants éminents du Département d’État américain – Jonathan Moore (premier sous-secrétaire adjoint principal, Bureau des océans et des affaires environnementales et scientifiques internationales) et Kurt Donnelly (sous-secrétaire adjoint pour la diplomatie énergétique, Bureau des ressources énergétiques).




Palestinian Authority ‘ready to sign maritime exclusive economic zone deal with Turkey’

A pact with Palestine could strengthen Turkish oil and gas claims in the Mediterranean

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is ready to negotiate a maritime delimitation deal with Turkey and cooperate with Ankara on natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean, a PA envoy told Turkish media on Monday.

Faed Mustafa, Palestine’s ambassador to Ankara, said in an interview that the PA could follow Turkey’s maritime delimitation deal with Libya and sign its own pact.

“We are open for every idea to deepen our relations with Turkey, and this includes a deal on exclusive economic zones,” Mustafa told the Aydinlik newspaper.

“We also have rights in the Mediterranean. Palestine has shares in oil and gas located in the eastern Mediterranean. We are ready to cooperate in these areas and sign a deal.”

With the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian territories have a coastline along the eastern Mediterranean that makes it eligible for maritime rights. Since 2007, Gaza has been ruled by the Hamas movement, which has fractious relations with the Fatah-dominated, West Bank-based PA.

Mustafa said Israel had been restricting Palestinian efforts to conduct exploration and drilling activities in the Gaza Marine gas field, which was discovered in 1999 approximately 30km off the besieged coastal enclave’s shore.

With Israel and Egypt keeping Gaza under strict blockade, and conflicts and flare-ups common, the field, which is estimated to contain one trillion cubic feet of gas, has remained dormant for nearly 20 years since its discovery.

“We couldn’t benefit from the gas due to Israeli pressure,” Mustafa said.

Turkey and Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord last November signed a memorandum of understanding to delimit maritime zones in the eastern Mediterranean in an attempt to block further Greek and Cypriot energy drilling activities in the area.

A deal with the PA could further embolden Turkish attempts to minimise Greek ambitions to restrict Turkish activity into a tight coastline.

Turkey and Greece are Nato allies but have long been at loggerheads over Cyprus, which has been ethnically split between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974, when the island was divided after a brief Greek-inspired coup triggered a Turkish invasion.

The Republic of Cyprus in the south of the island is a member state of the EU, while the north of the island is controlled by the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, which is only recognised by Turkey. Several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources in the eastern Mediterranean in the 2000s has complicated the negotiations.

According to the UN Law of the Sea, coastal states have a right to 320km of maritime territory from their shoreline where they can declare an “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ), and where they have the right to explore and exploit natural resources.

However, because of the concave shape of the eastern Mediterranean, there is an overlap between the areas that each country can claim, requiring negotiations and compromise – and opportunity, some say, for leverage in ongoing conflicts.

Neither Turkey nor Greece have made official EEZ claims, but that has not stopped them from fighting over the territory they envision to be their own.




PARIS : Webinaire, La Méditerranée Orientale à la Croisée des Chemins

Le Transatlantic Leadership Network annonce la publication de Maritime Disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean : The Way Forward, de Roudi Baroudi.

La Méditerranée orientale à la croisée des chemins : Les questions énergétiques au premier plan

Jeudi 11 juin 2020 9 H 30 – 11 H 00 EST

Avec la participation de : Dr. Roudi Baroudi, directeur général, Energy & Environment Holding ; Jonathan Moore, U.S. Department of State  ; Senior Bureau Official/Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs ; Kurt Donnelly, U.S. Department of State. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy, Bureau of Energy Resources. Sous-secrétaire adjoint pour la diplomatie énergétique, Bureau des ressources énergétiques.

Remarques préliminaires : John B. Craig, Ambassadeur, Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Leadership Network.

Modéré par : Debra Cagan, Distinguished Energy Fellow, Transatlantic Leadership Network

« Un commentaire d’expert et un travail de fond ».

John B. Craig, ambassadeur, ancien assistant spécial du président George W. Bush pour la lutte contre le terrorisme, et ancien ambassadeur des États-Unis à Oman

« Baroudi plaide avec force pour un compromis afin que les États de la région puissent dépasser leurs différends coûteux et récolter les bénéfices de la coopération. L’approche de M. Baroudi a beaucoup à nous apprendre et, espérons-le, contribuera à des progrès pacifiques, si seulement les parties adverses l’écoutent ».

Andrew Novo, professeur associé d’études stratégiques à l’Université de la défense nationale

« …Les pays de la région, ainsi que les États-Unis et l’Union européenne, devraient adopter l’approche de Baroudi pour réduire les tensions et profiter des avantages de cette manne d’énergie ».

Douglas Hengel, maître de conférences dans le cadre du programme sur l’énergie, les ressources et l’environnement de l’université Johns Hopkins, SAIS et chercheur au German Marshall Fund

À propos de l’auteur

Roudi Baroudi a 40 ans d’expérience dans les domaines du pétrole et du gaz, de la pétrochimie, de l’électricité, de la réforme du secteur de l’énergie, de la sécurité énergétique, de l’environnement, des mécanismes de commerce du carbone, de la privatisation et des infrastructures. Ses avis sur ces questions et d’autres questions connexes sont fréquemment sollicités par des entreprises locales et internationales, des gouvernements et des médias.




Ενα Νέο Βιβλίο Δείχνει τον Δρόμο για την Ειρηνική Επίλυση των Διαφορών Αναφορικά με τα Θαλάσσια Σύνορα

Ενας Οδικός Χάρτης Μπορεί να Βοηθήσει τα Παράκτια Κράτη να Επωφεληθούν του Υποθαλάσσιου Πλούτου

ΟΥΑΣΙΓΚΤΟΝ: Ο ειδικός σε θέματα ενέργειας, Ρούντι Μπαρούντι, στο νέο του βιβλίο αναδεικνύει μηχανισμούς μείωσης της έντασης, οι οποίοι συχνά ξεχνιούνται αλλά μπορούν να βοηθήσουν στην εκμετάλλευση πετρελαίου και φυσικού αερίου αξίας δισεκατομμυρίων δολλαρίων.

Το βιβλίο Διαφωνίες επί των Θαλασσίων Συνόρων στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο: Μια Πρόταση Επίλυσης διανέμεται από το Ινστιτούτο Μπρούκινγκς και σκιαγραφεί το εκτενές νομικό και διπλωματικό πλαίσιο το οποίο διατίθεται για χώρες με διαφιλονεικούμενα θαλάσσια σύνορα. Ο συγγραφέας Ρούντι Μπαρούντι συζητά την αυξάνουσα επιρροή του Διεθνούς Δικαίου της Θαλάσσης υπό την αιγίδα των Ηνωμένων Εθνών (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – UNCLOS), οι κανόνες του οποίου αποτελούν πια την βάση για την επίλυση όλων, σχεδόν, των διαπραγματεύσεων και συμφωνιών στην θάλασσα. Εξηγεί, επίσης, πως οι πρόσφατες εξελίξεις  στον επιστημονικό και τεχνολογικό τομέα – και ειδικά στην χαρτογράφηση ακριβείας – έχουν αυξήσει περαιτέρω την επιρροή των κανόνων του Διεθνούς Δικαίου της Θάλασσας, αφαιρώντας κάθε ενδεχόμενη ασάφεια από οποιαδήποτε διαπραγμάτευση που βασίζεται στους κανόνες του Δικαίου.

Το βιβλίο εστιάζει στην ανατολική Μεσόγειο, όπου οι πρόσφατες ανακαλύψεις υδρογονανθράκων ανέδειξαν το γεγονός ότι τα περισσότερα θαλάσσια σύνορα της περιοχής παραμένουν ακαθόριστα. Η αβεβαιότητα την οποία δημιουργεί αυτή η κατάσταση όχι μόνο καθυστερεί την εκμετάλλευση των πόρων και την διοχέτευση του πλούτου προς όφελος των κοινωνιών, αλλά δημιουργεί και κινδύνους θερμών επεισοδίων και πολέμων. Τέτοιου είδους προβλήματα υπάρχουν σε όλη την Γή. Ο Μπαρούντι σημειώνει, ωστόσο, ότι η δίκαιη επίλυσή τους σε μία περιοχή μπορεί να ενδυναμώσει την εμπιστοσύνη στους πολύπλευρους μηχανισμούς σε κάθε περιοχή.

Σε περίπτωση, σημειώνει, που οι χώρες της ανατολικής Μεσογείου συμφωνούσαν σε μια δίκαιη επίλυση των διαφορών τους με βάση το Διεθνές Δίκαιο, «θα ήταν μια έμπρακτη απόδειξη ότι η μεταπολεμική αρχιτεκτονική συλλογικής ασφάλειας παραμένει όχι μόνο εφικτή αλλά και απαραίτητη… θα απεδείκνυε σε όλον τον κόσμο ότι κανένα εμπόδιο δεν είναι τόσο μεγάλο και καμμία ιστορική εχθρότητα τόσο βαθιά ριζωμένη ώστε να μην υπερσκελίζεται από τον βασικό κανόνα στον οποίο συναίνεσαν όλα τα μέλη των Ηνωμένων Εθνών με την συμμετοχή τους σε αυτόν – την ευθύνη να επιλύουν τις διαφορές τους χωρίς την χρήση ή την απειλή βίας.»

Το βιβλίο μας υπενθυμίζει πως υπάρχουν μοχλοί οι οποίοι μπορούν να αμβλύνουν τις διπλωματικές ανισότητες, και αυτό είναι ιδιαίτερα χρήσιμο σε μια εποχή όπου η όλη ιδέα της πολυπλευρικής προσέγγισης βάλλεται από τις ίδιες χώρες οι οποίες την δημιούργησαν. Ο τρόπος γραφής του βιβλίου ζωντανεύει ένα θεματικό πλέγμα ιστορίας, γεωγραφίας, δικαίου και χαρτογραφίας, καθιστώντας τα θέματα αυτά προσιτά στο ευρύ κοινό στο οποίο απευθύνεται, καθώς και σε πολιτικούς και διπλωμάτες.

Ο Μπαρούντι εργάζεται εδώ και τέσσερις δεκαετίες στον ενεργειακό τομέα. Ανάμεσα στις πολυεθνικές εταιρείες, κυβερνήσεις και διεθνείς θεσμούς που έχει συμβουλέψει στο διάστημα αυτό συγκαταλέγονται τα Ηνωμένα Εθνη, η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή, το Διεθνές Νομισματικό Ταμείο και η Παγκόσμια Τράπεζα. Οι εξειδικευμένες γνώσεις του βρίσκονται στους τομείς του πετρελαίου και φυσικού αερίου, τα πετροχημικά, τον ηλεκτρισμό, την ενεργειακή ασφάλεια και την μεταρρύθμιση του ενεργειακού τομέα για να αντιμετωπίσει περιβαλλοντικά ζητήματα, την αγορά του άνθρακα, τις ιδιωτικοποιήσεις, και τις υποδομές. Είναι Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος της ανεξάρτητης συμβουλευτικής εταιρείας Qatar Energy and Environment Holding, με έδρα την Ντόχα του Κατάρ.

Το βιβλίο αυτό είναι απόσταγμα πολυετούς προσωπικής έρευνας, ανάλυσης και υπεράσπισης θέσεων του Μπαρούντι. Την επιμέλεια του κειμένου ανέλαβε η Debra L. Cagan, (Distinguished Energy Fellow, Transatlantic Leadership Network) και ο Sasha Toperich (Senior Executive Vice President, Transatlantic Leadership Network).

Το βιβλίο Διαφωνίες επί των Θαλασσίων Συνόρων στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο: Μια Πρόταση Επίλυσης εκδίδεται από το Transatlantic Leadership Network (TLN), μια ένωση δικηγόρων, παικτών του ιδιωτικού τομέα και αναλυτών οι οποίοι στοχεύουν στον διαρκή εκσυγχρονισμό των σχέσεων Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών και Ευρωπαϊκής Ενωσης. Η αρχική μορφή του βιβλίου ήταν ηλεκτρονική. Τώρα διανέμεται από τις Εκδόσεις του Ινστιτιούτου Μπρούκινγκς, που ιδρύθηκαν το 1916 για την έκδοση ερευνών του Ινστιτούτου, το οποίο θεωρείται από πολλούς ως το πιο αξιοσέβαστο ινστιτιύτο έρευνας των ΗΠΑ.

Πολλοί εξειδικευμένοι παρατηρητές πλέκουν το εγκώμιο του βιβλίου. Παραθέτουμε λίγα αποσπάσματα:

Douglas Hengel, Professional Lecturer in Energy, Resources and Environment Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Senior Fellow at German Marshall Fund of the United States, and former State Department official: “Μέσα από αυτό το στοχαστικό και γλαφυρό βιβλίο, ο Ρούντι Μπαρούντι μας δίνει ένα πλαίσιο… το οποίο μας δείχνει τον δρόμο προς μια δίκαιη και ειρηνική λύση… οι χώρες της περιοχής, καθώς και η Ευρωπαϊκή Ενωση και οι Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες, θα έπρεπε να ασπαστούν την προσέγγιση του Μπαρούντι.

Andrew Novo, Associate Professor of Strategic Studies, National Defense University: “… Ενα καλά ισορροπημένο, καινοτόμο και θετικό μήνυμα το οποίο μπορεί να βοηθήσει πολλά θέματα να προοδεύσουν που δεν φαίνονται να επιδέχονται επίλυσης. Χρσιμοποιώντας το Διεθνές Δίκαιο, γεω-στοιχεία υψηλής ακρίβειας και μια ισχυρή οικονομική λογική, ο Μπαρούντι προσφέρει ένα πειστικό επιχείρημα υπέρ ενός συμβιβασμού, εφόσον, φυσικά, οι εμπλεκόμενες πλευρές θέλουν να ακούσουν.”




New Book Shows Way to Peaceful Resolution of Maritime Border Disputes

Road Map Can Help Coastal Countries Tap Offshore Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C.: A new book by energy expert Roudi Baroudi highlights often overlooked mechanisms that could defuse tensions and help unlock billions of dollars’ worth of oil and gas.

“Maritime Disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean: the Way Forward” – distributed by Brookings Institution Press – outlines the extensive legal and diplomatic framework available to countries looking to resolve contested borders at sea. In it, Baroudi reviews the emergence and (growing) influence of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), whose rules and standards have become the basis for virtually all maritime negotiations and agreements. He also explains how recent advances in science and technology, in particular precision mapping, have expanded the impact of UNCLOS guidelines by taking the guesswork out of any dispute-resolution process based on them.

As the title suggests, much of the study centers on the Eastern Mediterranean, where recent oil and gas discoveries have underlined the fact that most of the region’s maritime boundaries remain unresolved. The resulting uncertainty not only slows development of the resources in question (and reinvestment of the proceeds to address poverty and other societal challenges), but also increases the risk of one or more shooting wars. Baroudi notes, however, that just as such problems and their consequences exist around the globe, so might their fair and equitable resolution in one region work to restore faith in multilateralism for peoples and their leaders in all regions.

Were the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean to agree under UNCLOS rules to settle their differences fairly and equitably, he writes, “it would give a chance to demonstrate that the post-World War II architecture of collective security remains not merely a viable approach but also a vital one … It would show the entire world that no obstacles are so great, no enmity so ingrained, and no memories so bitter that they cannot be overcome by following the basic rules to which all UN member states have subscribed by joining it: the responsibility to settle disputes without violence or the threat thereof.”

Baroudi’s work offers both general and specific reminders that levers exist which can level the diplomatic playing field, a useful contribution at a time when the entire concept of multilateralism is under assault from some of the very capitals that once championed its creation. In addition, it is written in an engaging style that makes several disciplines – from history and geography to law and cartography – accessible and interesting to everyone from academics and policymakers to engineers and the general public.

Baroudi’s background consists of more than four decades in the energy sector, during which time he has helped design policy for companies, governments, and multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. His areas of expertise range from oil and gas, petrochemicals, power, energy security, and energy-sector reform to environmental impacts and protections, carbon trading, privatization, and infrastructure. He currently serves as CEO of Energy and Environment Holding, an independent consultancy based in Doha, Qatar.

The book has been distilled from years of Baroudi’s personal research, analysis, and advocacy, with editing by Debra L. Cagan (Distinguished Energy Fellow, Transatlantic Leadership Network) and Sasha Toperich (Senior Executive Vice President, Transatlantic Leadership Network).

“Maritime Disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean: the Way Forward” is published by the Transatlantic Leadership Network (TLN), an international association of practitioners, private sector leaders, and policy analysts working to ensure that US-EU relations keep pace with a rapidly globalizing world. Distribution has been entrusted to Brookings Institution Press, founded in 1916 as an outlet for research by scholars associated with the Brookings Institution, widely regarded as the most respected think-tank in the United States.

The TLN hosted a webinar on Thursday to launch the e-book version, with guests and participants joining via Zoom from cities around the world. Following introductory remarks by Cagan and former US Ambassador John B. Craig, a lively discussion took place with a panel featuring Baroudi and two very relevant representatives from the US State Department – Jonathan Moore (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), Kurt Donnelly (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy, Bureau of Energy Resources) and Dr. Charles Ellinas (Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center)

Prior to the launch event, the book had garnered advance praise from key observers, including:

Douglas Hengel, Professional Lecturer in Energy, Resources and Environment Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Senior Fellow at German Marshall Fund of the United States, and former State Department official: “In this thoughtful and well-argued book, Roudi Baroudi provides a framework … guiding us down a path to an equitable and peaceful resolution … The countries of the region, as well as the United States and the European Union, should embrace Baroudi’s approach …”

Andrew Novo, Associate Professor of Strategic Studies, National Defense University: “… A balanced, innovative and positive message that can provide progress for a series of apparently insoluble problems. Using international law, highly detailed geo-data, and compelling economic logic, Baroudi makes a powerful case for compromise … if only the opposing sides will listen.”




Greece, Cyprus, Israel sign EastMed pipeline deal

Greece, Cyprus and Israel yesterday signed an agreement for a huge pipeline project to ship gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe. The 2,000km (1,200-mile) EastMed pipeline will be able to carry between nine and 12bn cubic metres of gas a year from off shore reserves held by Israel and Cyprus to Greece, and then on to Italy and other southeastern European countries. The discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has sparked a scramble for the energy riches.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades joined the ceremony at which their respective energy ministers signed the deal in the Greek capital. The EastMed project is expected to make the three countries key links in Europe’s energy supply chain. The EastMed alliance “is of enormous importance to the state of Israel’s energy future and its development into an energy power and also from the point of view of stability in the region,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued as he left Israel for Greece yesterday. Mitsotakis said the pipeline was of “geo-strategic importance” and would contribute to regional peace. Earlier, Greek Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis called it “a project of peace and co-operation”.

Anastasiades said his aim was “co-operation and not rivalry in the Middle East.” Avinoam Idan, a former Israeli government security off icial who is now a geostrategy expert at Haifa University, said of the deal: “It’s important for Israel, it’s important for the transit countries, Greece and Cyprus, and of course Europe.” As the new source of energy would not compete with Russian supplies to the EU, “there is no reason to see it as a big change in the geopolitical dynamic in Europe’s energy market,” he told AFP. The Greek economic daily Kathimerini said on Wednesday that Athens and Nicosia had been in a hurry to finalise EastMed so as “to counter any attempt to stop the project.” The cost of the installation from the eastern Mediterranean to Italy is estimated at €6.0bn ($6.7bn).




Blue Economy is Essential for All of the Euro-Mediterranean Nations

ATHENS: (Agencies) No single factor is more important to cross-border cooperation than the rule of law, a leading energy policy expert told this week’s EU-Arab World Summit in Athens.


Greek Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis greeting Energy expert Mr. Roudi Baroudi at the 4th EU Arab-World Summit in Athens, October 2019

Several high-profile speakers addressed opening-day sessions on Tuesday, including Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, and former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema. Most of these dealt in broad strokes with topics of mutual EU/Arab interest such as economic challenges, the immigration crisis, and shared interests in the Mediterranean’s rapidly expanding oil and gas industry.

On Wednesday, speakers delved more deeply into specific issues, among them Greece’s Deputy Minister for Energy and the Environment, Gerassimos Thomas, who focused on the geopolitical relationship(s) among undersea gas resources, liquified natural gas (LMG) activities, the delivery of East Med resources to Europe, and associated concerns about environmental impacts.

This and other in-depth talks prompted Roudi Baroudi, CEO of Doha-based independent consultancy Emergy and Environment Holding, to remark that with such a complex web of factors at play among so many countries, the only logical approach was to ensure that any and all stakeholders willingly submit to the same rules.


Mr. Roudi Baroudi with H.E. Mr. Massimo D’Alema, former Prime Minister of Italy

“In order to fully appreciate and safely exploit all of the advantages offered by well-managed maritime resource, there can be no substitute for common rules and standards,” Baroudi told attendees and journalists on the sidelines of the summit. “This blue economy could be a game-changer for countries all around the Mediterranean and even further afield.”

Baroudi, a 40-year veteran of the energy business who has helped shape both public and private policies on several continents, said that “the best, the cheapest, and the easiest way” to ensure timely and sustainable development for all players to honor their obligations under international law.

“If these countries just do their basic duty under the United Nations Charter, which is to seek the peaceful resolution of disputes, we’ll already be halfway there,” Baroudi said. “If they also make policy decisions based on the principles of Euro-Med partnership, then everyone wins.”

Baroudi also mentioned that the EU, for instance, has a clear interest in promoting full Maritime demarcation, not just because it would remove uncertainties affecting its southern members, but also because it would open up new opportunities for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership by continuing dialogue, reducing frictions and strengthening business ties.


Former Prime Minister of France, Francois Fillon and Energy expert Roudi Baroudi in discussions during the 4th EU-Arab World Summit in Athens, October 2019

“The peoples of the Mediterranean deserve the chance at affluence that new oil and gas revenues would provide. They deserve the modern schools, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure that would reinvigorate their economies, eliminate poverty, and reduce inequality .”

Baroudi concluded that it is very important to increase public awareness of the Maritime domain for the blue economy to really take hold all of the Euro Mediterranean Nations enjoy and to integrate fair, diplomatic, political, legal and scientific dimensions/approaches.