Greece, Israel and Cyprus have signed a deal for an undersea pipeline designed to carry gas from offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe.
The deal was signed during a ceremony at Zappeion Hall by the three countries’ energy ministers, Costis Hatzidakis, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis and Yuval Steinitz.
It was attended by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The 1,900-kilometer EastMed Pipeline is intended to provide an alternative gas source for Europe which now mainly relies on supplies from Russia and the Caucasus region.
Speaking after the signing, Mitsotakis said that apart from upgrading the geostrategic status of Greece and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean, the project “will contribute to peace and stability in the region.”
Stressing Washington’s support for trilateral energy cooperation in the region, the Greek premier said that construction of the EastMed pipeline “will reinforce European energy security.”
Mitsotakis stressed that the EastMed project “is not a threat to anyone,” – widely seen as a reference to Turkey whose exploration for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean has ramped up tensions with neighboring states.
“Regional cooperation is open to everyone under one condition: that they respect international law and good neighborly relations,” he said.
For his part, Anastasiades insisted that the trilateral cooperation between the three countries “is founded on the self evident geopolitical value, that is based on our historically shared values that always aim ultimately to achieve peace, stability and security in the volatile region of the Eastern Mediterranean.”
“It is commonly held by all that our cooperation, based on the principles of international law, solidarity, mutual interest and candid dialogue, show what countries can do if they join forces instead of isolating themselves,” he said.
“This day will be remembered,” said Netanyahu, adding that it is a “historic day for Israel.”
The EastMed project is a reflection of national values as well as strategic interests, the Israeli prime minister said, adding that construction will promote security and stability in the region and should not be seen as a threat to any third party.
This is a developing story.