Cyprus, Israel, Greece agree to deepen defence, energy ties

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After a meeting of Israeli, Greek, and Cypriot Foreign Ministers, the three countries agreed to deepen their alliance in regional security, defence, and energy.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides met his counterparts Yair Lapid and Nikos Dendias in Israel to address regional issues and examine their cooperation.

Sunday’s trilateral meeting was the first between the three countries at the level of Foreign Ministers since the new Israeli government took office.

“During the meeting, we discussed creating a basis for expanding the cooperation between the countries in a variety of fields,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid in a statement.

“Including the fight against COVID19, the formation of coalitions in the field of energy, & tackling common challenges related to the climate crisis. This trilateral alliance is a strategic asset for all of us.

“It strengthens our economy, our security and our international standing.

“It is an integral part of something bigger, an integral part of the change that is happening in the region.

“It is a moderate, pragmatic and forward-looking alliance.”

Christodoulides said the discussions in Israel were “forward-looking and substantive” after meeting Greek counterpart Dendias and Lapid.

He also held talks with Israel’s Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, which he characterized as “very positive.”

Dendias tweeted he stressed the importance of energy cooperation in various sectors, including renewable energy sources and interconnectivity.

Commenting on his meeting with Christodoulides, Gantz said they discussed security issues of mutual interest while reaffirming the “unique bond” between the two countries.

“We explored avenues to expand defence cooperation in the face of increasing threats in the Middle East and the Mediterranean,” Gantz tweeted.

He said security discussion focused on Iranian entrenchment in the region, threatening international trade, freedom of navigation and human lives.

“We agreed on the need for a united international front against growing Iranian aggression.”

Nikos Dendias was received by Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, where they discussed excellent Greek-Israeli relations and cooperation in all fields.