Photo Credit: Haim Zach (GPO)
Prime Minister Netanyahu in Greece. Jan. 2, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz traveled to Athens, Greece, on Thursday, where they signed a three-way gas agreement with Cyprus and Greece that sets the stage for the exportation of natural gas to Europe.

Under the agreement, Israel and Cyprus will jointly export gas from their offshore wells through Greece and Italy to the rest of Europe. Though Italy will not attend the summit, it is expected to sign the agreement in the near future.

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Netanyahu declared:

This is a historic day for Israel, because Israel is rapidly becoming an energy superpower, a country that exports energy.

Just days ago, we opened the Leviathan gas field, and it is producing enormous yields. But with the exportation that will become possible via this pipeline, we will be able to provide hundreds of billions of shekels in revenue to the citizens of Israel—for their welfare, for health, for the young people and the elderly, for everyone. This is an extraordinary development.

I would also like to mention that we signed a supply agreement with our Arab neighbors. This strengthens the peace, the economy and the future.

This is also a historic day because the cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel is growing stronger. This is a true alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean that is economic and political, and it adds to the security and stability of the region. Again, not against anyone, but rather for the values and to the benefit of our citizens.

We call on any other country that wishes to join us to do so. Italy will be added first, but also Egypt and any other country that is interested in doing so. This will strengthen our alliance.

This is a tremendous change. Israel was always a ‘fringe country’ a country that did not have any connections, literally and figuratively. Now, in addition to our foreign relations, which are flourishing beyond all imagination and everything we have known, we have a specific alliance towards these important goals in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Before leaving for Athens, Netanyahu announced, “We are headed to a very important summit with the president of Cyprus and the newly-elected Greek prime minister.”

The prime minister added that “we have established an alliance in the Middle East of tremendous importance for the future of Israel’s energy and turning it into an energy superpower.”

The Athens summit occurs in the context of recent strategic talks between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, and the launch of Israel’s offshore Leviathan gas field on Tuesday, the largest energy project in Israel’s history. It is expected to yield 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, paving the way for multibillion-dollar gas-export deals with Egypt and Jordan.

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