Cyprus: Anastasiades meets Netanyahu in Jerusalem

Cyprus: Anastasiades meets Netanyahu in Jerusalem

The efforts to address common challenges and problems such as the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic were pointed out tonight by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Speaking to the media ahead of their working dinner in Jerusalem where the President is paying a one-day working visit, both men stressed the excellent relations between the two countries in all areas, noting the prospects for their further bolstering.

Welcoming President Anastasiades, Netanyahu stated inter alia that the Cypriot head of state is a great friend of Israel but also his own, noting that since his election in 2013 they have been working together tirelessly and effectively to build a separate cooperation between the two countries, which is constantly strengthening.

Referring to the areas of cooperation, Benjamin Netanyahu noted the fields of energy, water management, tourism, public safety, but also health, especially through the efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

He also thanked Cyprus for its willingness to recognize Israeli vaccination passports, something he said his country would do for Cyprus.

He added that this opens prospects for the start of tourism exchanges between the two countries in the near future.

In the field of energy, the Israeli President stressed that the joint work on the EastMed gas pipeline, expected to open new perspectives,  would continue and noted that in this regard he has received good suggestions from the Prime Minister of Greece during his recent visit to Israel.

He added that the Abraham Accords open new horizons of cooperation in the region, which could include Cyprus.

For his part, President Anastasiades stated that the fact that he is accompanied on this working visit to Israel by the four Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Energy and the Deputy Minister of Tourism, all of whom have held separate meetings with their Israeli counterparts, highlights the strategic depth of relations between the two countries.

He added that they would discuss with Prime Minister Netanyahu issues related to tackling the coronavirus pandemic and ways to alleviate them, noting that vaccination is an extremely important tool to stop the pandemic.

He also congratulated the Prime Minister on his government’s timely vaccination efforts which made Israel a world champion in this regard, as half of the country’s population has been vaccinated and the results are already visible.

He added that he looks forward to learning more about the very successful vaccination process from Israel and to consider ways to deepen cooperation in this area.

He also said that during the working dinner they would have the opportunity to exchange views on the proposal of Israel in relation to the “Green Passport” in view of the resumption of free movement, which is of great importance for Cyprus given its dependency on tourism.

“To this end, I am pleased to inform you that an agreement has been reached between the competent authorities of our countries on the basis of which from 1 April 2021 Israeli citizens who have been vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency will not need to present a PCR test to travel to Cyprus or be placed in self-isolation upon arrival.

I am also interested to hear from the Prime Minister about the new treatment for COVID-19 that is being developed at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, bearing in mind that our competent authorities have agreed for Cyprus to take part in the clinical trials.”

Regarding bilateral relations, President Anastasiades said that the excellent cooperation is reaffirmed, but also the synergies that have been established both bilaterally and multilaterally, while ways of further cooperation in the energy sector will be considered, mainly in projects such as the EastMed pipeline and the Eurasia interconnector.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, the President said he would brief the Israeli Prime Minister on developments and stressed that the form of solution sought is a bi-zonal bi-communal federation based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions and EU principles and values. /ibna