Burgeoning bilateral and trilateral cooperation between Greece, Israel and Cyprus recorded another milestone on Thursday with an agreement, in principle, by the three nations to proceed with a major undersea pipeline project. The latter would pstensibly carry natural gas from east Israeli and Cypriot deposits in the eastern Mediterranean to western Europe, via Greece.
The decision was announced by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades during the 5th summit meeting between the countries' three leaders, Greece's Alexis Tsipras, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and the former. The meeting was held in the Israeli city of Be'er Sheva. Anastasiades added that the agreement will be formally signed in 2019, following approval by the EU Commission.
The next trilateral meeting by the three countries' leaders will take place at the Knossos archaeological site on the island of Crete, Netanyahu revealed, with Tsipras adding that the agreement will be signed there as well.
With a view on the increasingly menacing attitude by the Turkish military in the eastern Mediterranean, aimed primarily at preventing hydrocarbon research and exploitation in Cyprus' EEZ, Tsipras referred to the need for respect of international law in the region, and the Aegean. He also specifically referred to Cyprus' right to exercise its sovereign rights in its EEZ.
In another statement from Be'er Sheva, a desert city that has grown into a hi-tech and cyber safety hub, Tsirpas called for cooperation with Israel to establish a technological park for start-ups in Thessaloniki.