Netanyahu meets with Cyprus President Anastasiades in Jerusalem

In fifth meeting since Trilateral Committee in January, Netanyahu and Anastasiades meet on increasing cooperation in gas, combatting terrorism, Turkey and emergency response

PM Netanyahu with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia, Cyprus

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades Sunday evening in Jerusalem, their meeting centered on increasing cooperation in the fields of energy, emergency response, combatting terrorism and Turkey.

Relations between Israel and Cyprus have flourished since the Trilateral Committee between Cyprus, Greece and Israel created in January of this year. The Committee continues to advance in development and cooperation in the fields of energy, technology, research, tourism, combatting terrorism, most importantly the development of a natural gas pipeline in the region.

In a joint statement released on their meeting, “both leaders emphasized their shared interests in regional stability and expressed their agreement to continue countering sources of extremism and terrorism. The two sides continued their talks about emergency response cooperation…The two sides discussed the unitization issue regarding the Aphrodite and Yishai gas fields, and concluded that by September 2016 the two Energy Ministers will seek to finalize these discussions.”

On current events in Turkey in relation to development of projects, specifically gas, “both leaders concluded that there is no question that resolving the outstanding issues between Cyprus and Turkey would greatly facilitate the pace of the development of future projects, which will proceed according to international law, as well as greatly enhance stability in the region.  Therefore, Israel has a strong interest in the resolution of this issue.”

In January, Netanyahu emphasized that the “Our cooperation with Greece and Cyprus stands on its own [and]… does not depend on our efforts to normalize our relations with Turkey.”

Both leaders addressed the press ahead of their meeting, Netanyahu beginning by stating “Cyprus and Israel are two small democracies in the eastern Mediterranean. We also share common challenges, and also common opportunities in security cooperation, in gas, in emergency cooperation, commerce, tourism [and] many, many fields.”

Netanyahu referred to the Carmel Forest fire in 2010 when Israel “faced a ferocious forest fire… the first country I called was Cyprus. It offered to send a plane… and I was privileged to reciprocate last month when you faced a ferocious forest fire, and we sent our planes to extinguish your flames,” referring to Israel’s assistance as a first responder during wildfires in the Paphos region, sending firefighting aircraft and rescue teams to assist Cyprus. He added “Back in April, our two nations, along with Greece, conducted a joint fire-fighting exercise to enhance our regional cooperation in emergency situations.”

He went on to express “that’s exactly the kind of thing that friends do. They come to each other’s help in times of need, but also cooperate in good times or cooperate to make times better. And that’s why I’m particularly proud to have this opportunity to continue the dialogue we began on a tripartite basis in the Nicosia summit. We’re continuing those discussions, both bilaterally but also multilaterally, and we continue to send our people.”

In his address, President Anastasiades thanked Israel for its assistance in Pathos, stating “I want to express to you and to the people and Government of the State of Israel personally my gratitude and the gratitude of all Cypriots for the indispensable assistance which you offered recently during the terrible forest fires in Cyprus. I also want to especially thank the professional men and women who came to our aid – the pilots, the ground crew, the support staff and their officers, who so quickly went on alert, flew to Cyprus and helped us in our time of need. In the sadness of natural disasters, I have to point out something that gave me hope for the future: The fact that the level of mutual cooperation between Cyprus and Israel has reached the point where reaction is so swift and smooth. We know that we can rely on each other, and this is the result of a lot of work that we have been doing together during the past few years in bringing our countries closer.”

Anastasiades stated that Cyprus and Israel are “reliable partners that see eye to eye on a wide agenda of issues, reaching from energy to security to a very sincere, open and frank political dialogue. We have been tightening our areas of cooperation, from tourism to education and business, sharpening our joint training, and through continuous coordination have been forming a common language. This common language enables us to stand by each other in these very challenging times, as we are faced with so many attacks against our common rights. This is true in our immediate region, but also in many parts of the world,” the President highlighting the five visits between officials since the creation of the Trilateral Committee in January.

He stated that their meeting would “discuss how to enhance more our bilateral relations in the fields of energy, security, economy and trade, to exchange views on the regional developments, to brief you on the negotiations about the Cyprus problem, and of course to prepare for the next trilateral meeting later this year,” referring to the scheduled Trilateral Committee meeting scheduled as agreed by all parties in January.

VIDEO: Netanyahu speaks at formation Trilateral Committee in January 2016