Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned his fellow heads of state Tuesday at a trilateral summit in Cyprus, “if the Iranians reach the Mediterranean, they’re hoping to establish military bases in the Mediterranean for Iranian ships and Iranian submarines.”
Netanyahu, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras signed a joint declaration during the summit, held in Nicosia.
During his remarks, Netanyahu commented on three pipelines discussed by the Cypriot president, saying the East Med (energy) Pipeline is “important not only for our three countries, and for Italy, but it’s important for Europe that wants to diverse its energy source.” The second, an electricity pipeline, he said, “is the interconnector … we want to build, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece and obviously Europe. The whole grid.” Third, he said, is what he called the “information pipeline… the fiber optics that we wish to include on the same path… this will give us obviously tremendous benefits, perhaps ultimately the greatest benefits because the greatest benefits are in information, in innovation, in exchanges that are constant.
“But there is a fourth pipeline,” Netanyahu stressed, “it’s the human pipeline. I’m talking about a quarter of a million Israelis, half a million to Greece, a quarter of a million to Cyprus, who are coming to your beautiful countries, and the number is growing each time we meet.” Netanyahu said all he is asking for is “reciprocity,” adding that he doesn’t want any more than that.
“We’re discussing all these concerns and all these fields, they cover everything – security and energy and emergency and health and tourism and high-tech, we have… and so many others. We have… the sky is the limit, and I have to say that I find these meeting not merely productive but also very encouraging.”
Netanyahu then turned his attention to security, commenting that all three nations were “democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean,” with common interests, “precisely because we have common values.” He pointed out that although the leader of Cyprus found it “unimaginable” that anyone would challenge the right of the State of Israel to exist, “there is a force that is doing precisely that… the regime in Tehran.
“It openly calls daily for our destruction, the elimination of Israel from the face of the earth, and it practices unmitigated aggression against us and against anyone else in the region,” Netanyahu said. “It has a terror network that is spread throughout the world. It is now seeking to implant very dangerous weapons in Syria to be used against Israel for the specific purpose of our destruction.
I think it’s in the interest of everyone to prevent this Iranian aggression,” he advised. “If they reach the Mediterranean, they wish to establish military naval bases in the Mediterranean for Iranian ships and Iranian submarines. This is a palpable threat against all of us.”