Greek, Cypriot FMs bolstering East Med ties

Greek, Cypriot FMs bolstering East Med ties

Security and energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean were the focus of the visits by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides to Israel and Egypt last week. 

The two men met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds his country’s Foreign Ministry portfolio, on Thursday, and their Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on Friday. 

The meetings in Israel and Egypt took place in private, and according to sources this indicates the intention of all four countries to further solidify their cooperation in a wide array of fields – with Greece, Israel and Cyprus teaming up to lay the groundwork for the future supply of gas to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Moreover, Greece is particularly interested in delineating its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with Egypt.

Talks have been held between the two countries on the issue over the last two years. In between their visits to Israel and Egypt, Kotzias and Christodoulides also held talks in Nicosia to coordinate their moves amid renewed interest from the United Nations and other international parties to kick-start negotiations to resolve the Cyprus problem.

“Our concern is to resolve the Cyprus problem. But this must be done in a just way for the benefit of the people of Cyprus,” Kotzias said in Nicosia on Thursday.

He added that the aim at this stage is to explore whether there is common ground with Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots before negotiations can begin.

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