NICOSIA, Cyprus – The important Fourth Tripartite Summit between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, was held in Nicosia yesterday, which included Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli strongman Netanyahu is expected to present the plans for the construction of the East Med pipeline, which will pass from Israel and through Cyprus and Greece and will reach Italy and the rest of Europe.
Policy analysts view these moves as an initiative meant to compensate for Israel’s failing campaign in Syria, which sought to oust the present Syrian government for a number of reasons, including Israel’s desire to have a willing partner, that would see Syria as a transit country for Israeli energy interests.
Netanyahu already announced his intention to move on the pipeline project.
At the summit, the very good relations of cooperation between Greece and Cyprus with Israel are expected to be confirmed at the highest possible political level, which would upgrade the role of the three countries at the political and geostrategic level in the eastern Mediterranean.
Today’s meeting is expected to send out a strong message that will be heard in Turkey by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to government sources from Athens, in the tripartite talks between the leaders of Greece, Cyprus, Israel, a series of issues related to regional developments in the wider East Mediterranean region and energy issues will be discussed.
In particular, the following issues are expected to be discussed:
- Turkey’s role in relation to the issues of Cyprus, Syria, the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
- The Middle East.
- The role of Iran.
- Developments in Syria.
In addition, as estimated by Athens, special attention is being paid to the cooperation on energy and the promotion of the East Med gas pipeline, a project of great geopolitical importance for the country, which the Israeli prime minister supports.
The table is expected to sign an intergovernmental agreement this year between the governments involved, which would exploit the pipeline as a springboard for the three countries’ security cooperation.
Of particular importance is the agreement to be signed by the Deputy Minister for the Environment and Energy, Socrates Femmelos and his counterparts, to deal with extraordinary incidents of marine pollution, a project that has been actively promoted by the Greek side for a year and a half.
Also, the Digital Policy Minister, Nikos Pappas, will sign with his counterparts co-operation memoranda on issues of new technologies, both on a tripartite level (with Cyprus and Israel) and bilaterally with Israel. The Greek delegation is attended by Ministers: Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias, Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Information, Nikos Pappas, Environment and Energy, Giorgos Stathakis and Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy Socrates Famellos.
Natural gas in Israel is a primary energy source in Israel. As of 2014, Israel produced over 7.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas a year and exported natural gas only to the ‘Palestinian territories’. Israel had 199 billion cubic meters (cu m) of proven reserves of natural gas as of the start of 2016. Critics of this distinction, however, point out that Israel – as an illegal settler-colonial project – maintains that it has all mineral and energy rights in the area historically considered Palestine.