THE mammoth Leviathan natural gas pipeline-in-progress..
(photo credit: COURTESY OF NOBLE ENERGY)
Israel plans to sign an agreement with Greece and Cyprus next year for the world’s longest natural gas pipeline, known as the East Med.
It would export natural gas from Israel to Europe via Greece and could cost as much as $7 billion.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks on the project with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during the tripartite meeting that marked the fifth summit between three countries held in Beersheba.
The agreement for the East Med will be formalized next year at the sixth summit. It also needs approval for the European Commission.
“Today we reaffirmed our commitment for the East Med pipeline, discussed important aspects of the project,” Netanyahu said.
He added that the document could be signed in a number of months at the 6th summit.
“We think that this will open up new energy opportunities for Europe. It is important for the security of Europe, it is important for our respective economies and it is important for anchoring additional regional cooperation,” Netanyahu said.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said his country supports the project and that it was important for regional stability.
Netanyahu also spoke about the growing partnership between Israel, Cyprus and Greece as expressed through the trilateral summits that have been held since 2016.
“Our personal friendships grow stronger as our agreements grow longer and longer and detailed,” Netanyahu said.
“These bonds are not merely based on shared interests and geographic proximity. They are based on shared values in a very volatile region, very violent region,” he said.
All three democratic countries have a shared history and culture and hold to similar values of pluralism, freedom, and peace, Netanyahu said.
They also face the same regional dangers, he added.
“We are all threatened by forces of terror and religious radicalism. Our alliance is an anchor of stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Netanyahu said.
At the summit, agreements were signed on cyber cooperation, joint activity on the regulation of smart cities and homes, cooperation with Israel’s space program and technical cooperation in meteorology.
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