Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates sign a new memorandum of understanding to exchange solar energy for desalinated water

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates signed a renewed memorandum of understanding on Tuesday regarding a deal brokered by the United Arab Emirates a year ago for Jordan to supply solar power to Israel and that Israel brings desalinated water to the Hashemite Kingdom.

The memorandum of understanding was signed in the presence of US climate envoy John Kerry at the UN climate conference COP27 in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Outgoing Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej signed for Israel, backed by a team from the Energy Ministry led by Director General Lior Shilat. The outgoing Minister of Energy, Karine Elharrar, was not present at the confab.

Mohammad Al Najjar, Jordan’s Minister of Water and Irrigation, signed for Amman, while Emirati Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Al Mheiri signed on behalf of the Gulf nation.

The MoU promises to continue to “commit to developing the necessary tools in the plans in time for COP28,” to be held in the UAE next November.

Illustrative — A solar power plant during its official inauguration at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan on November 13, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

It is understood that the MOU is intended to send the message that the parties are moving forward with the agreement and that there will be “something to see” at next year’s conference.

The EP sign last November at Expo Dubai, that was “the intention”.

The latest document indicates that feasibility studies for each of the projects are underway and the parties claim that Prosperity Green (a 600 MW capacity solar power plant with storage to be built in Jordan) and Prosperity Blue (export to Jordan of 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water per year) were found to have “potential positive prospects”.

The deal will see Israel buy solar power from the Jordan-based facility, which will be built by an Emirati company, and Jordan will buy water from an Israeli site to be built along the Mediterranean coast.

The deal represented the latest by-product of the Abraham Accords Normalization Agreement that Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates in 2020 under the auspices of the Trump administration. The Biden administration has pledged to build on these agreements while remaining adamant that they do not replace Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Illustrative: A desalination plant in Hadera, May 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Jordan is one of the most water-scarce nations in the world and its water cooperation with Israel dates back to long before formal relations were established between the two. The nearly landlocked nation faces dire water prospects as its population grows and temperatures rise.

Israel is also a hot and dry country, but its advanced desalination technology has opened up opportunities for the sale of fresh water.

The UN climate summit COP27 kicked off in Egypt on Sunday with warnings against backsliding on emissions reduction efforts and calls for rich countries to compensate poor countries after a year of extreme weather disasters.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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