Greece, Cyprus and Israel have further consolidated their relationship following the 5th Summit between the three nations will be held in Israel, announcing they are ready to proceed with a U.S.-backed pipeline project that will transfer natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.
Participating in the high-level trilateral meetings were Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where discussions took place regarding the EastMed pipeline which would bring gas from the sea between Israel and Cyprus to European Union markets via Greece.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel, Greece, and Cyprus will sign an agreement early next year to build a pipeline to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe, while the United States pledged its support for the ambitious project.
The $7 billion project, expected to take six or seven years to complete, promises to reshape the region as an energy provider.
Netanyahu said the three nations reaffirmed their commitment to the pipeline and discussed "important aspects" of the project. Italy is also a partner in the pipeline's planning. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the project is waiting for a green light from the European Union to move forward.
Interestingly, it is noted that the US Ambassador to Israel David Melech Friedman also participated for the first time in certain parts of the summit.
Regional issues and cooperation between the three countries in the fields of energy, research and innovation, cyber-security, agriculture and tourism dominated talks, according to the same government sources.
Specifically, they also discussed:
A) Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, with emphasis on the Cyprus issue, the Middle East, the wider role of Turkey in the region, and the developments in Syria and Lebanon.
B) Issues of innovation, research and transfer of know-how from Israel, focusing on the creation of technology parks in Greece through the exploitation of its critical geographic location, its developing infrastructure and significant human capital.
C) Cooperation in the field of energy and radical changes in the region's energy map.
During the tripartite summit, Greece, Cyprus and Israel are expected to sign:
1. Tripartite memorandum of cooperation on cybersecurity.
2. Trilateral memorandum of understanding on Smart Cities and Smart Homes
3. Greece-Israel Bilateral Agreement for Exploration and Exploitation of Space for peaceful purposes.