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December 7, 2021 3:24 pm
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Greece and Cyprus Tout Energy, Security Ties With Jerusalem, Pledge Closer EU-Israel Relationship

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Jerusalem on Dec. 7, 2021. Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom / Government Press Office

Cyprus and Greece pledged to continue advancing Israel’s relations with the European Union on Tuesday, during a trilateral alliance meeting in Jerusalem focused on energy and security cooperation.

During the eighth Israel-Greece-Cyprus summit, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said his country and Greece “remain committed to the enhancement of [the EU-Israel] relationship.”

“We will continue stressing the need to further advance this cooperation in the framework of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and particularly in swiftly convening the very long overdue EU-Israel Association Council,” he said.

The Cypriot leader also called the Abraham Accords a “true game-changer” for regional cooperation, and welcomed a recent agreement on solar energy and water between Israel and Jordan, which was brokered by the United Arab Emirates. The deal “manifests the potential of the region as a pioneer in cross-border energy cooperation,” Anastasiades said, adding that both he and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis are willing “to take part in common projects between the parties to the Abraham Accords.”

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Discussions further touched on achieving regional security and stability, and cooperation on climate change and the long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis. The summit also saw the launch of a trilateral forum for security and natural disaster reduction and prevention, to better prepare for fires and other emergency situations.

“Our nations are some of the world’s oldest cultures, with deep histories and rich heritages, rooted in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the summit. “Today we come together with one vision: to embrace the future and the opportunity that it holds for our people, our countries and our region.”

He emphasized that Israel, Greece, and Cyprus will work on expanding their ties in the fields of security, economy, technology, tourism, and emergency services.

“Our countries are cooperating in air. With our energy projects, our countries are cooperating at sea. Today, I think we can also say that we are cooperating on the ground,” Bennett remarked.

In a meeting with Greece’s Mitsotakis, Israeli President Isaac Herzog described the trilateral alliance as “an anchor of stability and prosperity in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Herzog thanked Mitsotakis for Greece’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition on antisemitism, and its commitment to fight the hatred. The two also talked about potential avenues to advance Holocaust commemoration in Greece.

Additionally, ministers from Cyprus and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding on a cooperation program to forge research ties in scientific and technological fields.

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