Greece seeks stronger relations with Israel

Greece seeks stronger relations with Israel

With Greek-Israeli relations deepening in recent years, Athens wishes to continue on this course.

To this end Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will travel to Jerusalem on Monday for talks with his counterpart Eli Cohen, who took office three weeks ago.

Although not yet finalized, it is possible that Dendias will also be received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is an interesting coincidence that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also be in Israel.

The joint presence of the two ministers in Israel is significant, as it take place three weeks before their planned meeting in Athens and the resumption of the 3+1 format – Israel, Greece, Cyprus plus the US.

Washington’s support for Greece, Cyprus and the trilateral format with Israel, which was originally set up as a tool to circumvent Turkish views in the Eastern Mediterranean, is another element behind Ankara’s dismay.

Despite the fact that in his forthcoming tour of the region, Blinken, in addition to his visit to Athens, will also visit Ankara, in Turkey the US attitude is seen as biased in favor of Greece.

Moreover, although Israel-Turkey relations are on the path of normalization, the personal relationship between the leaders (Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Benjamin Netanyahu) remains difficult.

Coordination between Greece and Israel concerns broader issues, and is not limited to Turkey.

It is worth noting that Israel’s re-engagement with Turkey was encouraged by the US as part of an effort to exert pressure to “normalize” Ankara’s behavior in the region.

The most important aspect of Greek-Israeli relations at this stage is the effort to speed up the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean and their export to Europe by any means possible. 

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