Cypriot President in lightning visit to Israel
Following Israel-Turkish reconciliation agreement, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades came to Jerusalem to discuss Israel's improving relations with Cyprus's rival; PM Netanyahu allayed the president's fears that improved relations with Turkey will come at the expense of relations with Cyprus.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades came for a quick visit to Israel on Sunday due to concerns over the Israeli reconciliation agreement with Turkey, and to discuss a pipeline which will go from Israeli waters to Turkish which will pass through the Cypriot exclusive economic zone. .
President Anastasiades was accompanied by the Cypriot energy minister and foreign minister.
Officials in Jerusalem were surprised at Cyprus's change of position regarding the pipeline. Officials believe that the Cypriot government is feeling pressured by both local public opinion and the failed coup in Turkey to make sure that Cypriot interests and relations are taken into account.
Netanyahu managed to allay Anastasiades's fears by conveying the message that Israel has absolutely no intention of harming joint Israeli-Cypriot interests, and that Israel will do all that it can to coordinate policy with the Mediterranean island nation.
The Israeli side also said that there is no veto mechanism for building a gas pipeline through exclusive economic zones in international law, and that there are only coordination mechanisms – coordination which already exists between Israel and Cyprus. Meanwhile, the Cypriots explained that they have no intention of backtracking on cooperation agreements.
The two leaders published a joint statement at the end of their meeting, saying that while there was some turbulence in the relations over the last few days, the disagreements have been worked out, and that everything is back to normal.
Anastasiades also thanked Israel for providing firefighting planes to help fight a giant wildfire which was engulfing the island.