France held talks Sunday with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on diversifying Europe's energy supplies in order to reduce the continent’s dependence on Russia.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a phone call with his Saudi and UAE counterparts Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan stressed the importance of coordination with the two Gulf states with a view to diversifying the oil and gas supplies of European states, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
He underlined the “need for strong international mobilization, in all forums and in all circumstances, in the face of the aggression led by Russia in Ukraine, which represents a serious threat to European security,” the statement said.
Le Drian is also scheduled to visit Qatar next week, during which the topic of energy diversification will be discussed, BFMTV news reported. Doha is among the world's top three exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
France is also in the planning stage of installing a floating LNG terminal in the port of Le Havre to increase its LNG landing capacity and reduce its dependence on Russian gas, French news daily Les Echos reported Saturday.
Russia is the leading supplier of crude oil, natural gas and solid fossil fuels to European Union states. The stability of energy supplies is threatened due to the sanctions imposed on Moscow over its war on Ukraine.
Under the French presidency of the European Council, France has declared the goal of pursuing energy independence for the EU in the coming decade, which can be achieved by diversifying supplies and sources of oil and gas.
Amid international pressure and sanctions, French multinational oil and gas giant TotalEnergies announced last Tuesday that it was suspending business with Russia and importing petroleum products from Saudi Arabia.
By Shweta Desai in Paris