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27-03-2024 17:27

Joint press release of the Ministers of Energy of Cyprus and Israel

The Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and Cabinet member, Mr Eli Cohen, met today, 27 March 2024, with the Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus, George Papanastasiou, who paid an official visit to Israel together with high-ranking officials from his Ministry.

During the meeting, the Ministers discussed the issue of cooperation in the field of energy, which holds great potential for both countries. Among other things, they agreed to strengthen the regional alliance between the two countries and to continue promoting joint energy projects, including the construction of the submarine electric cable that will connect Israel to Cyprus and from there to Europe (Great Sea Interconnector) and which will be promoted as a top priority this year.

In addition, Ministers Cohen and Papanastasiou deliberated on various initiatives for the development of natural gas transmission infrastructure in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Cyprus Gateway initiative to transfer Israeli and regional natural gas through Cyprus to Europe.

The need to move forward swiftly in finding a solution to the issue of the cross-border natural gas reservoir of Aphrodite - Ishai was also discussed.

Prior to the meeting, the Ministers toured the Reading Power Station in Tel Aviv, accompanied by the Director General of the Ministry of Energy, Mr Yossi Dayan, and professionals from the two Ministries and Israel’s Electricity Authority, in order to examine the possibility of establishing the underwater electricity connection at the site.

The previous visit of the Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Mr George Papanastasiou, to Israel took place in June 2023, upon assuming office, during which he focused on promoting a series of strategic issues in the field of energy and strengthening relations between Israel and Cyprus. Cyprus is a significant strategic partner of Israel with regard to regional energy connectivity, including in the work of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum.

Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Mr Eli Cohen: "Cyprus is a regional ally, and cooperation in the field of energy holds great potential opportunities for both countries. Connecting the electricity cable from Israel to Europe through Cyprus strengthens Israel's position in the region, has a valuable contribution to Israel’s energy independence, and addresses the European need to diversify energy sources in the midst of the energy crisis. The submarine power cable will allow the State of Israel to receive backup from the European power grid in times of emergency. I thank Cyprus for its great support of Israel during the war."

The Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of Cyprus, Mr George Papanastasiou: "Cyprus and Israel share a vision for the Eastern Mediterranean with the countries looking at energy as a sector that can facilitate peace, stability and prosperity in the region. As such, I would like to thank Minister Cohen and his team for the hospitality and for the opportunity to meet in person and advance our energy cooperation, with a focus on the areas of electricity and natural gas. Inter alia, our productive discussions centred on finding tangible ways to ensure close coordination for the promotion and timely completion of the Great Sea Interconnector, which connects the electricity grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece. We also reaffirmed our determination to reach an agreement soon for the Aphrodite – Ishai issue, as well as to cooperate in developing the natural gas resources in the two countries’ EEZs, taking advantage of synergies in infrastructure. In this context, Cyprus could serve as a natural gas gateway to European markets, part of the reliable East Med energy corridor we are jointly working to create with an eye to diversifying sources and routes."