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France holds talks with Saudi Arabia, UAE on diversifying energy supplies to EU

France holds talks with Saudi Arabia, UAE on diversifying energy supplies to EU

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed on Sunday, with his Saudi counterparts Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed the issue of diversifying energy supplies to Europeans, intending to reduce their dependence on Russia.

French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Logender said that Le Drian stressed the need for a strong international mobilization to increase pressure on Russia to stop the offensive in Ukraine.

He asserted that it is necessary to keep working to diversify European energy supplies.

During his conversation with his Saudi counterpart, Le Drian strongly condemned the attacks launched by the Houthis on Saudi territory, offering his support for initiatives aimed at reaching a political solution to the Yemeni conflict.

With Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Le Drian stressed the “necessity of a strong international move” against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Next week, the French FM will visit Qatar, which is among the top 3 exporters of liquefied natural gas.

The French calls come after the decision of the EU countries, on Friday, to grant the European Commission a mandate to jointly purchase gas, similar to orders for vaccines against Corona.

The 27 countries and the Commission will work “together urgently on the voluntary purchase of gas, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen” by exploiting the economic weight of the EU to benefit from favorable prices, according to the decisions of the Brussels summit.

Keen to isolate Moscow and deprive it of sources of income after it invades Ukraine, Brussels wants to reduce its purchases of Russian gas by two-thirds this year, and it intends to facilitate contacts with international suppliers to diversify sources of gas supply.

The Commission began negotiating with the main producing countries (Norway, Qatar, and Algeria), and announced, on Friday, an agreement with the US to increase its shipments of liquefied natural gas.

The common procurement platform of the EU will be “open to the Western Balkan countries” as well as to the three countries linked to the European Union through association agreements (Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia), according to the decisions of the summit.

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