Jordan, Israel meet in UAE to finalise controversial water-for-energy deal

Jordan, Israel meet in UAE to finalise controversial water-for-energy deal
A trilateral meeting involving Jordan, the UAE, and Israel was held in the UAE to advance a controversial water-for-energy deal.
2 min read
14 August, 2023
Water shortages in Jordan are a serious problem [Getty]

A trilateral meeting between officials from Israel, the UAE and Jordan took place in the UAE to push forward plans for a controversial water-for-energy deal, The New Arab’s Arabic language site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Sunday.

A Jordanian delegation including Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammed Al Najjar and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Saleh Ali Al-Kharabsheh was at the meeting, the report said.

The meeting, also reported by Jordan’s state news agency Petra, included the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change Sultan Al Jaber and Israeli Minister of Energy Israel Katz.

Discussions focused on ways to advance the implementation of the 2021 memorandum of understanding (MOU) to move ahead with the Jordanian-Israeli water-for-energy deal, which was brokered by the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

The project, first announced in 2021, is for Jordan to build 600 megawatts of solar power capacity that would be exported to Israel. In return, Israel would provide water-scarce Jordan with 200 million cubic metres (mcm) of desalinated water.

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The MOU was signed at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt at an event hosted by the United Arab Emirates, which in 2020 became the first Gulf state to normalise relations with Israel.

Water shortages in Jordan are a serious problem and have been the root of much anger directed at the ruling Hashemite royal family. 

The lack of water diplomacy between Israel and Jordan also led to much Israeli criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was blamed for failing to improve relations between the two countries.

As part of the 1994 peace treaty, Israel was required to provide Jordan with 55 million m3 of water per year, for three cents per m3, and in 2010, the yearly allocation was increased by a further 10 million m3 at 40 cents per m3.