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Cyprus, Israel and Greece plan joint gas pipeline to Europe

By Tajuddin
In BUSINESS
Jan 29th, 2016
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 Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday described the tripartite energy meeting in Nicosia between him and the leaders of Cyprus and Greece as one “of historical importance.” In the Photo : Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades ,Prime Ministers of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras


Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday described the tripartite energy meeting in Nicosia between him and the leaders of Cyprus and Greece as one “of historical importance.”
In the Photo : Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades ,Prime Ministers of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras

Nicosia , Cyprus (Xinhua + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Cyprus, Israel and Greece agreed on several collective projects including preparing a plan for a joint pipeline to carry natural gas to Europe, the leaders of the three countries said here on Thursday.

They set a target of obtaining tangible results within six months.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, the Prime Ministers of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, met amid tight security measures at their first ever tripartite meeting, which had been three months in the making.

A joint declaration issued after the summit said they agreed to strengthen cooperation between their countries, saying it was open to others joining in promoting co-operation and peace in the region.

It added the three countries were examining practical means of cooperating and implementing joint projects and synergies in the fields of energy, tourism, research and technology, environment, water management, migration, and combating terrorism.

Cyprus and Greece are involved in a similar tripartite cooperation project with Egypt, which Jordan has said it was interested in joining.

Netanyahu said after the meeting that among the subjects discussed was the construction of a pipeline carrying natural gas from offshore Israeli and Cypriot gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean to Cyprus and then to Europe via Greece.

“It is an audacious plan which is running parallel to other joint energy planning,” said Netanyahu.

A joint committee was tasked with carrying out a feasibility study for the pipe.

Israel has discovered large quantities of natural gas in two offshore fields and Cyprus has tapped a field containing an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet (127 billion cubic meters) of natural gas in its continental shelf.

More exploratory drillings in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone for gas and possibly oil are planned by energy companies such as Italian ENI and French Total over the next two years.

Netanyahu said an underwater cable would link the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece.

“The three countries have joint interests and targets regarding security, stability and welfare,” said Netanyahu.

Anastasiades said the aim of the cooperation between the three countries was to promote peace, stability, and security in the eastern Mediterranean.

“The three-country partnership is not exclusive in design or nature and we are ready to welcome other like-minded actors to join our efforts to promote coordination and cooperation, as well as regional peace and stability,” he added.

Anastasiades said the discovery of hydrocarbons could act as a catalyst for welfare and stability in the region.

He has said the possibility of a gas pipeline to Turkey and from there to Europe would be open for discussion once a Cyprus solution was found.

Regarding this, both Netanyahu and Tsipras said they had been briefed by Anastasiades on his current talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to work out a solution to reunify the eastern Mediterranean island.

Netanyahu and Tsipras said they supported Anastasiades’s efforts for a just and viable solution to the problem which would be in line with European Union principles.

Tsipras made public Greece’s position that it would not like to continue its role of guarantor power for Cyprus, along with Britain and Turkey.

“In order to have prospects of stability and trust we must do away with arrangements which are anachronistic, such as guarantees and guarantors,” he said.

The three leaders also said they were in support of a Middle East solution providing for a Palestinian state which would co-exist with Israel in peace and security.

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