East Med gas pipeline tripartite meeting with Pompeo scheduled; Netanyahu to meet with US Secretary of State on Iran, Syria; PM: we will discuss the efforts to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece, President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem this week.

His meeting with Pompeo will center on Iran and Syria, Netanyahu confirming on Sunday morning, “We will discuss our efforts to thwart the military entrenchment of Iran in Syria and above all, we will discuss the efforts to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.”

He will then hold a meeting with Israel’s gas pipeline partners from Greece and Cyprus alongside Pompeo “in order to discuss the laying of a gas pipeline from Israel to Europe. This will bring vast revenue to state coffers that will be directed to the benefit of Israel’s citizens.” The meeting is another sign of increased strong ties between Israel and the United States, as well as signal to both Russia and Turkey on the Trump Administration’s interests in the region within the energy sector.

Towards the end of 2018, Israel finalized an agreement with Greece, Italy and Cyprus to move forward with construction of the East Med pipeline. The pipeline is set to be the world’s longest, around 2,000 kilometers. The deal is worth over $7 billion and has been under negotiations as part of the trilateral meetings between Israel, Greece and Cyprus. A tripartite committee was formed with continued agreements and joint projects in tourism, education, search and rescue, the pipeline and much more.

The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2024. The creation of the gas pipeline will not only benefit Israel’s economy and diplomatic and trade relations with European states, but has also placed Israel as a significant player as the world’s largest natural gas exporter.

Pompeo will also travel to Kuwait for the US-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue and to Beirut. According to the US State Department, his visits will center on the conflict in Yemen, Syria, as well as Iran’s aggression in the region and against Israel. Talks in Beirut will also address a Lebanese maritime dispute with Israel “involving potential off-shore resources”. Lebanon claims that 330 square miles of its maritime border are being violated by Israel’s energy endeavors. Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil recently sent an official complaint to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, claiming Israel is attempting to “encroach on Lebanon’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone.”

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