A joint declaration was signed last week, between Israel and Greece to further enhance cooperation in the energy sector; thus influencing the wider geopolitical significance for both countries. The agreement clarifies that both countries will proceed with a series of joint ventures involving the extraction and exploitation of hydrocarbons, Greek national daily, ‘Ekathimerini’ reports.
The two states “will examine ways and means for the better development of natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and their transfer to the energy market,” reads the confidential agreement. This phrase refers to plans for the construction of an underwater gas pipeline from Israel to Greece via South Cyprus, bypassing Turkey.
The signing of the declaration of cooperation signals further cooperation between Greece and Israel in the area of hydrocarbon exploration. The Greek government has already included the EU subsidised “Projects of Common Interest” programme in which both the gas pipeline and an underwater electricity cable will run from Israel to Greece via South Cyprus.
At one time it had been mooted that Israel and Turkey could construct a pipeline to bring gas from Israel’s Leviathan Field via North Cyprus and on to Turkey. The stalled relations between Turkey and Israel however, appears to have kicked this project out of the arena. Relations between the two countries cooled in 2010 following the Mavi Mara incident. Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that there had been some progress in mending the ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv; however, he added that Israel has not yet fulfilled all Turkey’s conditions for normalising relations.