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Cyprus seeks ‘rock-solid’ ties with new Israeli government

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President Nicos Anastasiades has congratulated Israel for forming a government and looks forward to further developing the Cyprus-Israeli strategic partnership.

The President tweeted: “My warmest congratulations to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and  Alternate PM/FM Yair Lapid for forming a government.

“Looking forward to closely working together in furthering the rock-solid Cyprus-Israel strategic partnership to the advantage of our region and beyond.”

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides also sent his warmest congratulations to Yair Lapid on assuming his duties as Alternate Prime Minister and Israel Foreign Minister.

“Wish him every success and look forward to working closely together to drive forward – rich bilateral agenda and regional cooperation.”

He also expressed his gratitude to former Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi for the excellent cooperation they had.

Lapid thanked his Cypriot counterpart, tweeting: “I look forward to working together to expand and deepen the relationship between our countries as well as cooperating with you on a range of regional issues”.

Israel’s new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, has promised to unite a nation frayed by years of political stalemate.

He said his government would “work for the sake of all the people”, adding that the priorities would be reforms in education, health and cutting red tape.

The right-wing nationalist will lead an unprecedented coalition of parties that won a confidence vote by a razor-thin margin of just one seat on Sunday.

He succeeds Benjamin Netanyahu, who was forced out of office after 12 years.

Bennett, the leader of the Yamina party, will be prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal.

He will then hand power over to Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, for two years.

Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving prime minister – will remain head of the right-wing Likud party and is the leader of the opposition.

The new coalition was approved by 60 votes to 59, with one abstention.

Cyprus and Israel have built a strong regional alliance based on their shared search to exploit energy wealth.