Netanyahu Envisions Fiber Optics Linking Asia, Middle East, and Europe During Visit to Cyprus

Netanyahu Envisions Fiber Optics Linking Asia, Middle East, and Europe During Visit to Cyprus
Israel Cyprus Greece

“I’m quite confident that we will have a corridor that could go through Israel, from the Arabian Peninsula, from Asia to the Arabian Peninsula to Israel to Cyprus, and from there to Europe.”

By United with Israel Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday was welcomed by Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

The two reviewed an Honor Guard, with their countries’ national anthems playing in the background. The Prime Minister laid a wreath at the foot of the statue of Cyprus’s first president, the Archbishop Makarios III.

The two leaders met privately in the Presidential Palace in Nicosia and afterwards held an expanded meeting with the participation of their staffs.

Among those attending the expanded meeting for the Israeli side were the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, the Director of the National Security Council, the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Director of the National Economic Council, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, the Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser, the Head of the National Public Diplomacy Directorate, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson and the Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus. Among those attending for the Cypriot side were the Foreign Minister, the Energy, Trade and Industry Minister, the National Security Adviser and the Cypriot Ambassador to Israel.

“Thank you, Mr. President, my friend Nikos,” Netanyahu began, during a joint statement with the Cypriot president. “I have to tell you that when I say ‘my friend,’ I don’t mean that just in the way of a manner of speaking, but there is a deep friendship, both personal, but also between our nations that is real, that was long overdue. We had an anomaly, both with Cyprus and with Greece, two democracies at the edge of the Mediterranean who basically had very minor, if any, real associations and partnerships between each other for decades and decades.”

“I thought that this had to come to an end. I think in 2016 thereabouts, we brought it to significant change that is now seeing the change of governments in all our countries, and it goes on, because it is—as you said correctly—it’s based on common values, common history. I mean, Western civilization is the result of basically Greek culture and Judaism fused together. And that, our commitment to democracy and our common interest in the region—to fight radicalism, to fight terrorism, to fight those who don’t share our worldview and want to destroy our world—the combination of these things has made this association, this partnership, real. And it becomes stronger with each passing year. So number one, I thank you for your friendship.

Netanyahu is to hold a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Cyprus and Greece on Monday. “I want to say that this visit, both bilaterally and of course with our tripartite meeting tomorrow will strengthen even more,” he said. “It happens from one meeting to the other, it gets stronger and stronger. That’s reflected by things that you can see here in Cyprus. You can see the number of Israeli tourists growing all the time. Tremendously. It’s something that I think also creates a people-to-people bond. You see Israeli investors who are here, hi-tech investors, who are coming in and enjoying both the business climate, but also your, the talented people of Cyprus. That’s growing all the time.”

“You see our cooperation in security. And I want to use this opportunity to thank you, Nikos, for the excellent work done by Cypriot security services to foil an attempt, a terrorist plot against Israelis on the soil of Cyprus. Very much appreciate it.

“We see it in our cooperation in science, for example. We’re signing, close to signing a science cooperation agreement. We’re talking about now in the field of energy, about two main things. One is an electrical connector that will connect Cyprus to Greece and to the mainland Europe. And from Cyprus to Israel and possibly to countries to our east. And that gives us the ability to, not to be—forgive the expression—islands. I’m not sure being an island is so bad. We in Israel often even wished that we’d been an island. But you certainly don’t want to be an energy island. You want to be connected to other sources of power that can allow a more optimal use of power. Or give you power when there is a failure in your own country. That is something that we’re discussing seriously and we hope to achieve.

“We’re also talking about various options for cooperation in natural gas. We’ve been very fortunate, both our countries, in discovering reserves of gas. And we’re talking about how we could cooperate in this. This is something that we’ll continue in the coming months.

“I do want to mention, since you mentioned firefighting, that we very much support the European decision to build a regional firefighting and emergency center here in Cyprus. It will serve, I think, not only Cyprus, Israel, Greece, other countries in the region. Now, we think we can, we’d like to be part of it, and we certainly think we can bring a lot of things to it. I mentioned AI, because increasingly our firefighting efforts in Israel are not only using planes, but using AI systems, which immeasurably increase the ability to put out fires.

“The climate isn’t going to get cooler. It’s going to get hotter. And with, you know, with the heating up of our region and the globe, firefighting becomes a really important thing. We can, I think we can do it better together, and that’s obvious and we will.

“The last thing that I’d mention is that we have, I think, also the possibility of making real the idea of an Asia-Middle East-Europe corridor, especially infrastructure. That’s going to happen as part of the extension of the Abraham Accords, and possibly, obviously possible normalization with other countries in the region. But I’m quite confident that we will have a corridor that could go through Israel, from the Arabian Peninsula, from Asia to the Arabian Peninsula to Israel to Cyprus, and from there to Europe. An example of the most obvious one is a fiber optic connection. That’s the shortest route. It’s the safest route. It’s the most economic route. That is one example.

“And I think you, when you’ll sit here in a future meeting, you will see this connection, and I think many others.

“I want to thank you for the hospitality. I look forward to our discussions.”



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