Israel’s Minister for Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom on Thursday signed a three-way agreement with Greece and Cyprus relating to interconnecting electricity grids, protecting natural gas deposits and desalinizing sea water, Israel’s Globe business daily reported.
Globes cited Shalom’s aides who said the memorandum of understanding among the three countries was “historic,” and that it would ensure shared energy security in the coming years.
The agreement was signed in Nicosia, Cyprus, with Greek Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change George Lakkotrypis and Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Nicos Kouyialis. “The tripartite agreement was reached after many discussions, and demonstrates the strong and tightening relations between the countries,” said Shalom.
The agreement calls for the construction within three years of an electricity cable between Israel and Cyprus, with a conduit on Crete that would allow further interconnection to continental Europe.
The three countries will also cooperate to protect important infrastructure in the Mediterranean where natural gas fields are located.
On the issue of water, Cypriot Minister Kouyialis said, “A new era of cooperation starts today in the field of sewage treatment and waste water reuse that will help Cyprus improve its water balance, as substantial and constant quantities of recycled water will be utilized in the best possible way.” Israeli companies were involved in the construction of three of Cyprus’s four permanent desalination plants, he said.
“Israel would like to give any help needed. We are very happy that an Israeli company is involved here,” said Shalom. Regarding water security, he added, “We believe that it is necessary these days, even though Cyprus is not facing the same threats that Israel is facing from terrorists.”