Jerusalem, June 16, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
Cyprus and Israel have entered an era of strategic dialogue on energy issues and competent ministers intensify as of today their discussions with a view to conclude a joint exploitation agreement of natural resources.
They have also begun to explore the possibility of providing electricity to Europe through an interconnector that will link Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via a submarine power cable.
This, according to reliable information, is the result of today`s discussions in Jerusalem between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who suggested concrete measures with a view to develop tourism between the two countries.
Energy concerns were the focus of a meeting on Monday between Cyprus Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis and the Minister of Energy and National Infrastructures of Israel Yuval Steinitz. Netanyahu had asked of the ministers concrete results the soonest possible, urging them to begin discussion on the interconnector as well.
With regard to tourism, the Israeli Prime Minister said that Israel intends to attract tourists from the Far East, a project on which it can cooperate with Cyprus. He proposed a ferry connection between Cyprus and Israel, noting that if this succeeds more countries could join as well.
On his part, President Anastasiades expressed Cyprus` interest in attracting tourists who visit Israel from the US.
According to the same information, during their working lunch, Netanyahu thanked President Anastasiades for the role which Cyprus plays within the EU on issues which concern Israel.
On Cyprus-Greece-Israel Trilateral Meeting, it is expected that the date of the meeting will be finalised at the beginning of August when the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Israel. The meeting is expected to take place in Cyprus in October or November. Prior to it the Foreign Ministers of the three countries will meet most probably on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
President Anastasiades briefed Netanyahu of his intention to undertake an initiative and send a letter to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to address the European Council. In this framework, President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas may also be invited to address the Council, the same sources said.
President Anastasiades conveyed to Netanyahu a message on the Palestinian issue from the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi. Anastasiades is expected to speak with Sisi again soon to convey Netanyahu`s messsage to him.
On the Cyprus question, Netanyahu said he follows developments closely and welcomed the resumption of the UN-led peace talks.
According to the same sources, Netanyahu during his working lunch with Anastasades talked about the possibility of Cyprus and Israel cooperating in technological sector, and referred to his recent meetings with the CEOs of Google and Orange.
The two leaders also discussed Iran, terrorism and the situation in Turkey.
My presence in Israel today is a continuation of the positive historical record in the bilateral relations between Cyprus and Israel, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said addressing a state dinner hosted in his honour by the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin.
He stressed that the expanding of cooperation between the two countries is not directed against any third country. “To the contrary, our goal is to resolve the soonest possible long-standing problems, which threaten the existence of our countries,” he noted. Our struggle is to achieve an enduring solution in Israel but also in Cyprus, on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions, he added.
Anastasiades said that today the relations of the two countries at their highest point, not due to necessity or because of economic or political necessity like in the past, but due to free will and choice.
“As our economic and business ties develop further, our political will to nurture and cultivate further our bilateral relations grows stronger. Our cooperation extends over a wide range of fields, from tourism, economic exchanges, agriculture, business and high tech industries. Commercial and trade ties have expanded and cultural relations have blossomed,” he noted.