Amid an escalation of tension between Athens and Ankara in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece and Israel urged respect for the sovereign rights of all states within their continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, in line with international law.
“We strongly oppose attempts to violate these rights in a manner that endangers the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, violates international law and runs counter to good neighborly relations,” read a joint declaration issued after talks in Jerusalem on Tuesday between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking to reporters after their talks, Mitsotakis said that he set out “what I consider our view to be regarding Turkey’s aggressive behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
“We consider this activity to be a threat to regional peace and stability,” he said.
For his part, Netanyahu referred in particular to defense cooperation, the tripartite alliance between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, and the EastMed pipeline.
The declaration also stressed that both countries share common values of democracy and the rule of law, and that Israel attaches “great importance to its longstanding and important partnership with Greece.” It added that the bilateral cooperation is aimed at maintaining regional stability, prosperity and cooperation.
“In this regard, we are also committed to continuing our trilateral cooperation with Cyprus and the 3+1 format with the United States of America with the clear aim of achieving concrete and meaningful results,” it said.
The joint declaration made extensive reference to the progress made by both countries since May 21, 1990 after the signing of the relevant joint statement by the governments of the late Konstantinos Mitsotakis (father of Kyriakos) and the late Yitzhak Shamir.
“Our meeting today allowed us to agree on continuing the concerted efforts to intensify cooperation in all fields: foreign affairs, defense, innovation, cyber, agri-tech, science and academic, energy, health, environment, tourism, infrastructure, culture, sports and commerce and investment,” the statement read.
In the field of defense, it was agreed that the two national security advisors of both countries should coordinate more. Meanwhile, Netanyahu also told reporters that Greece and Cyprus will be the first destinations for Israeli tourists once restrictions on travel from Israel are lifted on the target date of August 1.
“This is contingent to what happens in terms of the numbers of the epidemic whether we keep it under control,” he said.