Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara began a state visit in Larnaca, Cyprus on Sunday evening. Netanyahu is expected to meet with both the Cypriot and Greek prime ministers.
The prime minister was welcomed by Cypriot Defense Minister Michalis Giorgallas in Cyprus and Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Oren Anolik.
Both Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides reviewed an Honor Guard at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia while their national anthems playing in the background. The prime minister also laid a wreath at the foot of the statue of the first Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios III, who reigned from 1950 to 1977.
On Monday, Netanyahu will reportedly meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ahead of a trilateral meeting with both leaders.
One of the main issues to be discussed is a plan to transport gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe, which is in dire need of gas as a result of the sanctions against Russia caused by the war in Ukraine.
“We have several routes for production,” Netanyahu told the press before departing for Cyprus. “In this meeting, I will concentrate on two of these routes, the Eastern natural gas pipeline or a liquefaction plant in Cyprus, which would allow us to produce a massive amount of gas for Europe, which will also fill the state coffers.”
An Eastern Mediterranean pipeline would be supported by the three countries and facilitate Israeli, Cypriot and Greek exports to Europe, but would be opposed by Turkey.
During an interview in February 2022, Turkey expert Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak told ALL ISRAEL NEWS he believes Ankara could potentially convince Israel to abandon the EastMed alliance and reach an alternative mutually beneficial gas agreement with Turkey.
Another option is a pipeline from Israel to Cyprus, where gas will be liquified and shipped onward to Europe, or offshore liquefaction terminals near Israel’s gas fields.
Netanyahu also spoke about the trilateral Eastern Mediterranean alliance that the countries established in 2016, calling it a “major success. It has led to a major improvement in economic relations, including in tourism; millions of Israelis have visited Greece and Cyprus up to now, has led to an improvement in security relations.”
Netanyahu was set to visit Cyprus and Turkey in July but had to reschedule due to health issues, which ultimately led to surgery for a pacemaker implant.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.