Greek Ambassador to Israel Panagiotis Sarris to Israel Panagiotis Sarris lauded the Israeli government’s milestone advancement of the EastMed gas-pipeline project Sunday, as he warned Turkey’s objections to the project and its expansionist moves in the Mediterranean posed security concerns.The EastMed pipeline “turns energy into a catalyst for regional cooperation and stability, for the benefit of all. We want Turkey as an equal partner and not as the neighborhood bully, but this is currently proving difficult,” Sarris told The Jerusalem Post in a written statement. Israel’s government on Sunday ratified a trilateral accord signed in Athens in January by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.The accord advanced the construction of the 1,900-km. project, which will be mostly located under the sea and the largest such pipeline in the world.It will transform both Israel and Cyprus into energy powerhouses by piping natural gas from their fields through Greece and onward to Western and Eastern Europe via Italy, which has agreed to the project but has yet to sign the accord. The Cypriot parliament ratified the accord on Friday. The US and the EU both approve of the project.“The EU assisted the parties in drafting the intergovernmental agreement,” the EU Embassy in Tel Aviv said, adding that “the pipeline should be seen as one option of tapping EastMed gas supplies for the EU alongside shipping it to the EU by tankers in the form of liquefied natural gas.”At issue in particular is Turkey’s objection to the project. It has signed a pact with Libya, claiming exclusive economic zones in the Mediterranean Sea, precisely in subsea areas where the pipeline will be constructed.The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) had been ratified by 168 countries, except for Turkey, which is making claims to large parts of the Mediterranean, Sarris said.“Turkey has threatened to drill seven miles off the coast of Crete, a Greek island home to over a million people,” he said. “These waters are within Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and drilling there would be a provocative violation of international law.”Greece would be obliged to react and defend the sovereignty of its waters and territory,” Sarris said, adding that Turkey has used its agreement with Libya to justify ”its aggressive rhetoric”One has only to “examine a map” to understand that “this is nonsense” and that the Turkey Libyan memorandum of understanding is “null and void,” he said.“Such expansionist moves by Turkey are a significant shared security concern for Greece, Israel and Cyprus,” Sarris said.Cyprian Ambassador to Israel Thessalia-Salina Shambos called Israel’s ratification of January’s trilateral accord “excellent news.”Israel’s governmental vote Sunday “reconfirms our joint commitment to the implementation of the EastMed pipeline,” she said. It is “a technically feasible and economically viable project that represents a strategic choice of shared interests for our countries and for the EU.”It had “clear geopolitical merit for our wider region,” Shambos said.Sarris said it was a sign of the strong trilateral cooperation among Israel, Greece and Cyprus that has become only stronger through this project.“At the same time, it puts an end to the energy isolation of Cyprus and ensures the supply of gas to areas of Greece that currently do not have access to the national network,” he said.“The next step: The next step is for Italy to join and ratify the EastMed Project so that the gas can then go to Central and Northern Europe. I am very optimistic that Italy will get on board,” Sarris said.