Ashkenazi: Greece, Cyprus partnership will bring security and stability

Regional cooperation is “a central strategic component for ensuring peace, stability and economic prosperity."

Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (photo credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY)
Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi
(photo credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY)
Cooperation between Israel, Greece and Cyprus will bring economic growth and security for the three countries, along with greater regional stability, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in Athens on Tuesday.
Ashkenazi touted the ability of tripartite diplomacy “to promote regional security and the national resilience of every one of our countries,” at a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.
Regional cooperation is “a central strategic component for ensuring peace, stability and economic prosperity,” he added.
"I plan to personally act to promote economic cooperation between the countries to connect strategic infrastructure, like the electric grid…and the EastMed initiative,” Ashkenazi said.
The EastMed initiative is a plan to build a pipeline from Israeli waters to the European mainland via Cyprus and Crete. The offshore and onshore pipeline is meant to be 1,900 km. long, making it the longest in the world.

Israel, Greece and Cyprus have also signed an initial agreement to connect an “interconnector” for Europe to provide electricity to Israel.
Ashkenazi also hailed the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), established by Israel and Egypt, of which Greece and Cyprus are also members.
The Foreign Minister expressed hope that Israel, Greece and Cyprus will continue their joint meetings.
In addition, Ashkenazi referred to the recent peace and normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
“The Middle East is undergoing a positive upheaval in recent months,” he said. “After many years of ties that were mostly kept secret from the public, we are witnessing the opening of a window of opportunity for peace between friends, countries and cultures.”
Ashkenazi called for the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel, directly and without preconditions.
Earlier Tuesday, Ashkenazi met with Christodulides, and "raised the discrimination against Israel at the UN, which is a real obstacle to progress in the peace process with the Palestinians," he wrote in a post-meeting tweet.
Ashkenazi met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Monday
“The partnership between Israel and Greece is a basis for protecting stability and growth in the Mediterranean region,” Ashkenazi said. “We should continue to act to promote economic initiatives and strengthen cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, energy, health and mutual aid in emergencies.”
Ashkenazi also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was also in Athens, on Monday. The two discussed Iran’s attempts at entrenchment in Syria, which Ashkenazi said Israel will not tolerate, and continued coordination on the matter.