Energy tops Greek Cyprus, Israel talks

Energy tops Greek Cyprus, Israel talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks in Nicosia on Feb. 16 on energy cooperation and economic ties with the Greek Cypriot leader, who accused Turkey of threatening them.

“We’re interested in developing peaceful relations for the benefit of our two countries and the region as a whole,” Netanyahu said after talks with Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias. In an apparent nod to Turkey, he added, “We have no ulterior motives and no hidden motives here.”

Netanyahu also said Israel was exploring the possibility of building a joint pipeline with Cyprus to export some of the offshore gas deposits to Europe and Asia. Israel’s Delek Energy and United States firm Noble Energy have struck gas offshore at the Tamar and Leviathan fields, 130 km off Haifa. “Then we talked about the possibility, we haven’t made a decision about a common pipeline – it’s about 40 km between the two gas fields,” Netanyahu said. “We have to examine the question of LNG facilities: This could be in the direction of Europe through Greek Cyprus or could be in the direction of Asia through Israel.”

Meanwhile, Christofias accused Turkey of threatening Greek Cyprus over its Feb. 13 decision to launch a second licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration blocks. He urged the international community, “especially the EU,” to send a strong message to Turkey that it must “stop violating and start respecting international law.”

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.