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Israel and Greece close in on major energy deal

“We will continue to advance the strategic relations with the Hellenic triangle,” said Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (center) and Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis (to Cohen's right) meet in Athens, July 6, 2023. Photo by Kitas Christos.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (center) and Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis (to Cohen's right) meet in Athens, July 6, 2023. Photo by Kitas Christos.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met Thursday in Athens with his Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis, ahead of a major energy agreement between the eastern Mediterranean allies.

The meeting, which was the first official visit by any foreign minister to Athens since last month’s Greek elections, comes amid strong relations between Israel and both Greece and Cyprus.

“We will continue to advance the strategic relations with Greece in the fields of security, energy and technology, and the Hellenic triangle with Greece and Cyprus,” Cohen said.

A trilateral summit between the leaders of the three countries to sign the energy agreement, which will connect their national electricity grids, is expected to be held in Cyprus in the coming months.

During his lightning visit, Cohen noted how Greece had become a hub for Israeli tourists, with nearly one million visiting the country over the last year, arriving on more than 100 weekly direct flights.

The two foreign ministers also discussed furthering technological cooperation, with plans underway to establish an Israeli technological park in Greece in cooperation with Beersheva’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, as well as the development of Israeli innovation greenhouses in Greece.

Cohen pointed out how the three allies were working together to thwart Iranian terrorism in the region, with two major attacks against Israelis and Jews stymied in the last six months.

Last month, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said that the relationship between Cyprus, Greece and Israel has developed into a “strategic partnership” based on a shared vision for a thriving eastern Mediterranean.

The mammoth, European Union-backed energy project is going forward as the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia are fueling a global energy crisis that has hit the European Union hard, spotlighting the continent’s dependence on foreign sources.

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