Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades pledged on Thursday to sign an agreement early next year for the construction of the EastMed pipeline to transport gas to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking at a trilateral summit in Beersheba, southern Israel, Netanyahu said the three countries’ commitment to the project was reaffirmed and that the agreement will be “officially signed in a few months.”
The agreement for the pipeline, which aims to connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece, first needs the approval of the European Commission. The pipeline would pass through Greece carrying gas from Cyprus and Israel to Italy and from there to the rest of Europe.
The summit was also attended by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, highlighting America’s support for the project and the deepening cooperation between “three democratic allies in the region.” Friedman said the pipeline will be integral to the “stability and prosperity of the Middle East and Europe.”
Analysts say the pipeline could change the region’s energy map by chipping away at Russian dominance over the European energy market. The agreement also contains important references regarding the security of energy infrastructure.
Tsipras hailed the wide-ranging cooperation between the three countries, including cyber security, while Israel and Greece reached a framework agreement on satellite technology. “The aim is to consolidate our region as a region of peace, cooperation and co-development,” he said, also announcing that the next tripartite meeting will be held on Crete in February.
“We will be on Crete to signify it will be an island of cooperation and development from where EastMed will pass. We want an energy bridge of cooperation, not conflict,” he said.