Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visits Athens amid global energy crisis

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is expected to meet with his Greek counterpart Yakos Dandias and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to discuss Israeli-Greek cooperation, among other issues.

 Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem February 13, 2022.  (photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / REUTERS)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem February 13, 2022.
(photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / REUTERS)

Following the continuation of the war in Ukraine and the West's intention to further tighten sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid paid a diplomatic visit to Athens yesterday.

Lapid is expected to meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsutakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dandias. A tripartite meeting is also planned with the Greek Foreign Minister and the Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Xolides.

In the talks, the parties are expected to discuss cooperation between the two countries, Israeli-Turkish relations and the implications for the countries of the region due to their recent warming. According to political sources, in the face of the energy crisis that began even before the outbreak of the war between Russia and Ukraine and intensified following the sanctions imposed on Russia, Western countries are busy looking for alternative solutions for the supply of natural gas.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during an interview with Reuters in Athens, Greece, April 8, 2019. (credit: REUTERS/ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS/FILE PHOTO)Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during an interview with Reuters in Athens, Greece, April 8, 2019. (credit: REUTERS/ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS/FILE PHOTO)

This is due to their intention to gradually disengage from Russian gas. This is a complex challenge, as many countries in the West are dependent on Russian gas, and the imposition of sanctions without a replacement gas source could lead Europe to an acute energy crisis.

According to the Ministry of Energy's calculations, Israel is able to reach a state of exports to Europe of about 10% of the gas it currently buys from Russia. Energy Minister Karin Elharar told Maariv: "Israel is facing an opportunity to become a major player in the global energy economy. I recently instructed the ministry to examine the possibility of exporting natural gas to Europe following a request I received from the European Union."