The US is closing all of its oil and gas fields in the Middle East, President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday.
“We’re closing off the vast majority of the world’s oil and we’re not doing that for the next 20 years, and we will not do that for another 20 years,” he said in a joint statement with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The US has closed more than 400 of its 1,100-plus oil and natural gas reserves since Trump took office in January, and Trump is expected to announce a further 60-day extension of that deadline.
The announcement comes amid the unrest that has rocked Egypt since Trump’s inauguration, and which has seen thousands of protesters killed by police and soldiers.
Sisi’s government has said the protests were sparked by the appointment of a former military general as president.
The protests are a result of the military’s removal of a democratically elected government and the appointment in 2018 of the first openly gay person to the country’s top job.
Al Jazeera’s Richard Galpin, reporting from Cairo, said that while the announcement could be seen as a signal of the Trump administration’s intention to focus more on economic growth, it is likely to do little to stem the unrest.
“The president is going to have to be more explicit in his decision,” he told Al Jazeera.
“And the US government needs to be careful in what it says in public and how it talks to the people of Egypt.
The whole economy of Egypt is based on oil and the US oil companies are going to lose a lot if the country is cut off from the rest of the Middle Eastern world.””
Trump’s decision could be part of the problem, but the US has a lot to lose by doing this.
The whole economy of Egypt is based on oil and the US oil companies are going to lose a lot if the country is cut off from the rest of the Middle Eastern world.”