Cyprus, Greece and Israel ready to sign EastMed agreement, US also embrace the project (2)

Leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel said on Thursday they were ready to proceed with an interstate agreement concerning the EastMed pipeline, following their trilateral deliberations in Beer Sheva. The United States of America also lend support to the project, as stated by their Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

The 5th Trilateral Cyprus-Greece-Israel Summit, with the participation of the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras and the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, wrapped up with the signing of Memoranda of Understanding on cyber security, smart cities and smart homes.

On a bilateral level, Cyprus and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding on cyber security and in the field of meteorology, as well as a joint declaration for cooperation in the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes.

I deem that today’s Summit was entirely successful with regards to the goals set, and I feel particularly satisfied because the development of our tripartite mechanism shows in a very tangible way that it has become a credible model of constructive regional cooperation, for the benefit of the people and the region in general, said President Anastasiades.

Speaking after the end of the Summit, the President said the decision regarding EastMed is one of the most important and substantial achievements of the tripartite cooperation.

The field of energy comprises a key component of our cooperation he said, adding that with regards to EastMed we have already reached an agreement. He explained that the text will be signed once it receives the approval of the European Commission.

Furthermore, he said that this strategic project offers a tremendous collective advantage for the wider region, while its implementation is expected to contribute to the EU’s energy security in a practical way.

He said moreover that together with the Prime Ministers of Greece and Israel, Alexis Tsipras and Benjamin Netanyahu respectively, they reconfirmed their political determination to promote the subsea electricity cable EuroAsia Interconnector.

According to President Anastasiades, the tangible and important benefits of their corporation had as a result a number of countries demonstrating their active interest for an ad hoc participation a fact which is proven with today’s participation of the United States of America through their Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

US participation, the President went on, is due to the fact that it becomes clear that our corporation is a practical reflection of wider regional advantages, which can be achieved when countries with common interests join forces, instead of isolating themselves.

He also referred to the permanent secretariat which will be based in Nicosia after July 1st, 2019, in order to coordinate the nexus of tripartite cooperation, adding that the ambition is to transform it into a regional interstate organization of cooperation, after the model of OSCE.

Finally, he expressed his intention to undertake an initiative, in cooperation with the United Nations and the EU, to create in Cyprus a regional policy-making and coordination center, to tackle the effects of climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on his part that EastMed is a pipeline for prosperity. He added that we are ready to sign an agreement and said the official signing could take place in 2019, in Greece.

The pipeline, he went on, is important for the security of Europe, for the economies of Cyprus, Greece and Israel, and comprises another step towards anchoring the cooperation between the three countries. Together we are stronger and there is huge potential, said the Prime Minister of Israel.

Referring to the presence of US Ambassador David Friedman in the Summit, Netanyahu said it reflects the support of the United States to our actions and values.

On his part, Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras said EastMed was a project of particular geopolitical value and importance, aiming to secure the flow and transportation of energy resources from the Southeastern Mediterranean to Europe.

Speaking in general about the trilateral cooperation, he said the aim was to include in the future more countries with energy resources in the region, adding that we aim to exclude nobody.

We want energy to be a bridge between people and not a reason for confrontation, he said.

As CNA learns, the EastMed agreement also contains important references regarding the security of energy infrastructure, which will allow every country to intervene in case of sabotage, regardless of the jurisdiction of the area.

The three leaders also disclosed that the next Tripartite Cyprus� Greece � Israel Summit will take place in February 2019, near the ancient city of Knossos, in Crete. According to Tsipras, the meeting will be eventually attended by a US official.

USA wholly supports the EastMed project The Ambassador of the Unites States of America to Israel, David Friedman also addressed the event, noting that EastMed is a project of great importance for the stability and prosperity of the Middle East and Europe.

The USA wholly supports the project and its goals that help diversify energy sources throughout the entire region and help bring energy security to Europe, he said and called on all countries in the region to help ensure that the project is successful.

Moreover, he noted that the USA supports the trilateral partnership between Israel, Greece and Cyprus. This partnership is an anchor of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and is based on common interests and common values that the three countries share together with the USA, he said.

References on Cyprus, the Middle East peace process and terrorism

Referring to the benefits of viable and functioning Cyprus solution, President Anastasiades said moreover that Cyprus will be transformed into a bright example of ethnic, cultural and religious cooperation between Christian and Muslim communities, allowing them to coexist peacefully in a prosperous European country, which is fully independent and has no foreign dependencies.

He also thanked the two Prime Ministers for their principled stance towards a Cyprus settlement and Cyprus’ right to exercise its sovereign rights with regard to natural resources.

He also referred to the importance of various efforts to create a conducive environment for the resumption of peace talks in the Middle East.

Tsipras also referred to the need to reach a just and viable Cyprus solution, through the abolition of guarantees and the removal of the Turkish occupation army. He also underlined the need to respect international law both in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean.

Netanyahu referred to Israel’s operation to neutralize the terror tunnels of Hamas, aiming at cross-border terrorism.

Cyber security, innovation and research President Anastasiades said that Beer Sheva was not a random choice for this Summit, as the city is known for being a center for cyber security, innovation and research.

During the new summit, which was completely successful, we adopted the Beer Sheva Declaration with particular emphasis on cyber security issues and the signing of relevant MoUs he said.

He said that Israel is considered to be a pioneer in research and innovation and noted the decision to cooperate, in order to undertake various initiatives to support start-up businesses.

He welcomed finally the 1st Cyprus � Greece�Israel trilateral business forum, which took place on Wednesday at the initiative of the respective chambers of commerce of the three countries.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency