Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has arrived in Athens for trilateral meetings with his Greek and Cypriot counterparts.
Ashkenazi will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who will be in Athens at the same time.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides plan to hold one-on-one meetings with Ashkenazi, in addition to a meeting of all three together. Ashkenazi is also expected to meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. All three visited Israel separately in recent months.
The Foreign Ministry said the meetings “will focus on promoting relations between Israel, Greece and Cyprus, regional developments and closer cooperation in the tripartite framework.”
Israel has developed especially close ties with Greece and Cyprus in recent years in light of natural-gas findings and development.
The major joint Israeli, Greek and Cypriot project is the EastMed gas pipeline from Israeli waters to the European mainland via Cyprus and Crete. The offshore and onshore pipeline is meant to be 1,900 km. long, making it the longest in the world.
Tensions between Greece and Cyprus and Turkey are likely to come up in the meeting, as the countries are in an ongoing dispute with Ankara over its navy’s encroachment into their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey reopening a resort in the buffer zone between Cyprus and Northern Cyprus, among other issues.
In August, as Turkey sent naval ships into the Eastern Mediterranean, ostensibly to protect a research mission in Greece’s EEZ, the Foreign Ministry released a rare statement that said: “Israel expresses its full support and solidarity with Greece in its maritime zones and its right to delimit its EEZ.”