The partnership among Cyprus, Greece and Israel is not exclusive, and the three countries welcome cooperation with other like-minded parties to promote the goals of stability, security and prosperity, the Ambassador of Israel to Cyprus, Shmuel Revel, has told the Cyprus News Agency, in an interview ahead of the Cyprus, Greece and Israel Trilateral Summit that will take place on December 20, in the Israeli city of Beersheba.
Revel was replying to a question about Israel’s position concerning the Republic of Cyprus plans to forge multilateral cooperation with countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region as well as other countries and particularly a possible broadening of the three countries’ cooperation with the participation of the USA.
Replying to other questions, he stressed that Energy presents a potential for joint ventures and projects, and for economic growth in the area, expressing the belief that the EastMed natural gas pipeline project “represents a viable and strategic option of common interest to our countries, as well as to other European states.”
Moreover, asked about Turkey’s position and threats against drilling operations in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), he underlined that Israel opposes any action in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea which could cause a concern to stability, violate international law or contradict good neighbourly relations, while referring to Cypriot – Israeli relations, he noted that the past year has brought these relations to an unprecedented higher level and stressed that “we look forward to further upgrading them in 2019.”
Referring to the Trilateral Summit that will take place on December 20, Revel noted that this is the 5th meeting of the Heads of State of Israel, Greece and Cyprus and will take place in Beersheba, a developing centre of excellence in cyber security and innovation.
He noted that the summit will place at the forefront cooperation in the fields of Innovation, Cyber and Research. In parallel, he added, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is organizing a seminar for young entrepreneurs from Cyprus and Greece. This first of a kind trilateral seminar, titled: “Innovation Road map: How to Scale Up Your Start-Up,” includes eleven participants from Cyprus and a similar number of participants from Greece, he added.
Referring to the trilateral cooperation among Cyprus, Greece and Israel, the ambassador stressed that “promoting stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region is the major objective. We share significant opportunities, particularly in the fields of energy and tourism,” he added.
At the same time, Revel noted, “we face important challenges. Together with like-minded countries we must face the growing threats of terrorism and extremism.”
Based on our common values of democracy, the trilateral partnership also rises up to respond to emergency situations. Civil defence and medical services of the three countries are working closely together to save lives, the Israeli Ambassador said.
He noted that for the future of the region, it is imperative that we increase our capabilities in the areas of water and environmental protection.
Asked about the EastMed project’s importance for the region and the EU and the drilling operations in Cyprus’ EEZ, the Israeli Ambassador said that the significant gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean are a major opportunity.
“Energy presents the potential for joint ventures and projects, and for economic growth. We believe that the EastMed pipeline project represents a viable and strategic option of common interest to our countries, as well as to other European states,” he noted.
Responding to a question about threats launched by Ankara against drilling operations in Cyprus’s EEZ, Revel stressed that Israel respects the Republic of Cyprus sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
He noted that “as stated in the last Trilateral Cyprus-Greece-Israel Summit in Nicosia on May 8, 2018, we oppose any action in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea which could cause a concern to stability, violate international law or contradict good neighbourly relations.”
Asked how bilateral relations between Cyprus and Israel are developing and in which fields these relations are focusing, the Israeli Ambassador said that “this past year has brought the relations between Israel and Cyprus to an unprecedented higher level.”
“As two close neighbours, we are bound by history and the shared values of democracy. This historical alliance between Israelis and Cypriots received a special meaning over 70 years ago when many Cypriots opened their hearts to assist the Jewish detainees in British detention camps, who were en route to completing their journey to the state of Israel,” he noted.
Today, he added, “Israel and Cyprus work closely together to create a better future for our countries and for the region. Together, we promote stability and security, we respond to emergency situations and cooperate closely in the medical field. We develop major energy prospects and synergies.”
“We brought to the front of our joint agenda the issues of water and environmental protection. We increase considerably the close links in tourism, including major investments in tourism infrastructure. Moreover, we bring closer together our peoples in the fields of education, culture and sports,” the ambassador said.
Revel stressed that “we look forward to further upgrading the relations between Israel and Cyprus in 2019,” adding that “these strong relations are vital for the welfare of our peoples, as well as for the future of our region.” [Kathimerini Cyprus]