Cyprus, Israel Strengthen Ties on Energy, Security

NICOSIA (Reuters/Hamodia) -
Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu observe a guard of honor at the presidential palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday. (REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou)
Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu observe a guard of honor at the presidential palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday. (REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou)

Israel and Cyprus agreed on Tuesday to expand their cooperation on energy issues, including the use of pipelines and electricity grids to link to European markets, as both countries develop natural gas fields off their coasts.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said they would seek to tap the potential of natural gas in the sea bed beneath both countries.

“There is palpably renewed energy in our relationship, I mean that figuratively and literally,” Netanyahu said. “… We think that by cooperating with each other we can take it out more easily, we can market it better, to the betterment of both our societies.”

Netanahyu said the two countries were exploring various options on collaboration, but did not elaborate. Anastasiades said among the options were an east Mediterranean pipeline and the Eurasia interconnector, a private project to transport electricity powered by natural gas.

“We want to achieve peace, peace depends on security, and ultimately if you don’t have the capacity to defend that peace it collapses very rapidly in our area,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also accepted a Cypriot invitation to address European Union leaders at a future summit in Brussels on prospects for Middle East peace, in an initiative that has seen a similar invitation extended to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, The Times of Israel reported.