Historic Visit To Israel for Defence Minister Eliades
During his visit, Eliades will sign bilateral defence agreements, including exchange of classified information and a common defence policy. He will also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III.
As the alliance between Turkey and Israel ebbs rapidly over a row to do with the deaths of nine Turkish activists at the hands of Israeli special forces in 2010, a new age of military cooperation is on the rise between Cyprus and Israel.
On September 7th, 2011, Eliades met with Israeli Ambassador Michael Harari and discussed strengthening bilateral military cooperation. On the same day, Turkey announced its decision to suspend military and commercial agreements with Israel.
Tensions escalated in the Eastern Mediterranean last year over the issue of offshore gas and oil drilling after US company Noble Energy started exploring for gas reserves in Cyprus' Block 12 at the beginning of October.
In response, Turkey boosted its naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, claiming that Cyprus' agreement on maritime borders with Israel is null-and-void, and asserting the right to 'freedom of navigation.'
Israel, Greece and Russia took up defensive positions in response to Turkey's aggression over Cyprus' natural resources. These countries made public statements in support of Cyprus' sovereign right to its offshore reserves, and said they will defend this right based on the International Law of the Sea.
Since then, Noble Energy discovered between 5-8 Tcf of natural gas in Block 12 and Israeli-Cypriot relations are strengthening signficantly as they sign agreements on energy and military cooperation.
(Photo: official photo of Foreign Minister Demetris Eliades (left) and Israeli Ambassador Michael Harari.)
Want to comment? Click here for membership to CyprusNewsReport.com, and keep in touch by subscribing to our newsletter below.