Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described cooperation with Greece and Cyprus, under the supervision and encouragement of the US, as the best and strongest regional association in the world.
He made his comment following a summit he hosted in Jerusalem on Thursday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“This is the sixth summit meeting between Israel, Cyprus and Greece. We began this a few years ago, and it’s blossomed into one of the best regional associations in the world,” said Netanyahu.
He added: “We cooperate in everything, from firefighting and now to energy.”
“We are planning to lay down a pipeline called the East-Med Pipeline, from Israel, through Cyprus, through Greece, to Europe, something that will benefit our economies greatly, provide stability for the region and prosperity to our peoples, but also we think would diversify the energy supplies to Europe,” said Netanyahu.
A source close to Israeli PM said that the summit unveiled a leap in military cooperation among the three countries, to the extent of establishing a joint supervision body in the Mediterranean Sea to protect gas wells.
Anastasiades affirmed Cyprus’ “commitment to promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region.”
“Revisionist powers, like Iran and Russia and China, are all trying to take major footholds in the East and the West. We view the United States, Israel, Cyprus and Greece as great key partners in security and prosperity,” said Pompeo.
In 2015, Israel participated in wide-range military exercises in Greece, including a training against a Russian-supplied S-300 anti-missile system.
European countries signed with Israel in 2017 the joint declaration to enhance the work aimed at extending the sea line to transport Israeli gas to Europe within the next eight years.
The 2,000-kilometer underwater pipeline is intended to have a capacity of 12 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The project includes the construction of a 1,300 km long submarine pipeline from the East Mediterranean gas field to southern Greece, as well as a 600 km long pipeline to western Greece, linking existing pipelines to transport gas to Italy and other EU countries.