CAIRO- France has asked to join the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which aims to develop the region's gas market, Egypt's petroleum ministry said on Thursday.
The forum held its third meeting on Thursday in Cairo after being set up last year as part of efforts to transform the Eastern Mediterranean into a major energy hub.
Other members include Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy and Jordan. The United States has asked to become a permanent observer, the statement from Egypt's petroleum ministry said.
The forum, among other things, aims to lower infrastructure costs and secure competitive prices for gas from the region.
Egypt, which started importing Israeli gas on Wednesday for possible re-export to Europe or Asia, is promoting itself as a key player in the regional trade.
(Reporting by Ahmed Ismail, writing by Amina Ismail Editing by Aidan Lewis, Kirsten Donovan) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +20 2 2394 8114;))