NEWS

EastMed deal expected in 2018

TAGS: Cyprus, Energy, Diplomacy

In what is viewed as another significant step toward the strengthening of the geostrategic partnership between their countries, the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Israel agreed Tuesday in Nicosia to sign a deal within 2018 for the construction of the EastMed pipeline that will supply Europe with gas from the Eastern Mediterranean.

The project is expected to render the three countries an important link in Europe’s energy supply chain and, by extension, turn the Eastern Mediterranean into an axis of stability.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described the project as “emblematic” and of “utmost geostrategic significance.”

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the three countries have common interests in the Eastern Mediterranean because “we share common values” and dubbed the project a “very serious endeavor” for Europe as well, as it seeks new sources of energy.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades echoed the same sentiment, saying the pipeline will contribute to the security of the European Union’s energy supply.

“It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the trilateral framework of cooperation is of significant geostrategic value, which has already been acknowledged on an international level,” Anastasiades said, adding that the project creates an unrivaled network of common interests and clear strategic benefit for the three countries.

The 2,000-kilometer pipeline will be able to transfer between 9 and 12 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually from the offshore gas reserves in the Levantine Basin (Cyprus and Israel) to Greece and, in conjunction with the Poseidon and IGB pipelines, to Italy and other Southeast European countries.

The three leaders also discussed linking their countries’ power grids via the underwater EuroAsia Interconnector and reaffirmed their commitment to complete the project.

They further discussed the possibility that the link will include a fiber-optic network.

Netanyahu said that next trilateral summit will take place in 2018 in the city of Beersheba in Israel.

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