Israel, Cyprus, Greece sign MOU on energy and water
CYPRUS, ISRAEL and Greece will sign a “historic” memorandum of understanding (MOU) on energy and water issues today, paving the way for the further strengthening of relations between the three countries.
Speaking after a meeting with Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis in Nicosia on Wednesday, Israeli Minister of Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom described today’s signing of the memorandum between the three countries as a “historical moment”, as it was the first of its kind between the three countries.
On the initiative of Cypriot Energy and Trade Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, Shalom and Greek Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Yiannis Maniatis are in Nicosia to discuss issues concerning tripartite and regional cooperation in the energy sector, including protection of the environment from offshore hydrocarbon activities and connecting the electricity grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece through submarine power cables.
The signing of the MOU on energy and water collaboration, due today, shows how far the three countries have come in terms of cooperation, said Shalom. Relations are better than ever, he said, adding that the MOU will enable the three countries to strengthen relations even further.
“The fact that we are here shows that we do not only work well on (issues concerning) water, but it’s also about geopolitics, strategy and political issues between the three countries,” he said.
Shalom and Kouyialis yesterday held a bilateral meeting to discuss water development, management and protection.
The Israeli minister hailed the meeting as an indication of the good relations enjoyed between Israel and Cyprus these days, adding, “I believe we can do more”.
He spoke of a “big change” in relations and the “good will between the two sides” to help one another.
Enhanced relations between the two countries was also a major theme of President Nicos Anastasiades’ speech at the opening of a fifth desalination plant, which Israeli companies had helped build, near Limassol last night.
Anastasiades said energy cooperation between Israel and Cyprus, given their common interests in the exploration and exploitation of significant natural resources, could “become the driving force for an enhanced partnership between our two countries”.
Given the government’s determination to move ahead with the construction of an LNG plant, he invited Israel “to seriously consider committing to exporting Israeli gas” from the Cypriot LNG facility.
“This is all the more pertinent if one takes into account that Cyprus is perhaps Israel’s most stable partner in the region. In addition, our proximity to the Suez Canal is an important factor favouring the creation of a regional energy hub in Cyprus for the transportation of natural gas from Eastern Mediterranean countries, not only to Europe, but also to the Far East,” said Anastasiades.
It’s really funny how Iran pretends that Israel is the most isolated country in the world in light of deals like this.
(h/t Professor Pelotard)