Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
embarked on a historic visit to Cyprus on Thursday, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Netanyahu is the first Israeli leader ever to visit the nearby island nation.
A statement by the Prime Minister's Office said that "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's one-day visit to Cyprus
is designed to strengthen the improving ties between the two nations."
Netanyahu with President Christofias (Photo: GPO)
Netanyahu's visit aims to boost the cooperation between Jerusalem and Nicosia in the fields of energy,
agriculture, health and maritime research.
While in Nicosia, Netanyahu will meet with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, Opposition Leader Nicos Anastasiades and various government officials.
Past ties between the two nations have been chilly, as Cyprus was wary of Israel's
military and trade relations with Turkey,
which does not recognize Cyprus as a sovereign state and occupies its north.
But Israel's relations with Turkey have deteriorated, and Cyprus is looking to cement ties with neighbors as Turkey's influence grows.
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