The bilateral relationship between Israel & Cyprus has in many ways been a cornerstone of the regional alliances that have been woven in recent years
In recent years, the Eastern Mediterranean has stood out as a distinct sub-region, receiving wide attention in the regional and international arena – politically, strategically and economically.
The discovery of natural gas in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt, and the clear potential for the discovery of additional gas fields in the economic waters of other countries such as Lebanon, were a major catalyst for the development of new regional architecture on the one hand, and of rising tension between part of the countries involved on the other.
The bilateral relationship between Israel and Cyprus, which has become very close in the last decade, has in many ways been a cornerstone of the regional alliances that have been woven in recent years.
The Regional Gas Forum, established two years ago in Cairo and which consists of seven members, is a fascinating illustration of the common interests formed in the region. These are Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Cyprus and the Palestinian Authority. Israel is rightly entitled to observe these developments with great satisfaction.
In recent months, most of the members have ratified the forum’s constitution, as did Israel last week. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz stressed, after approval by the government, that the gas discoveries encourage “historic cooperation” with Arab countries and Europe that will continue to expand. This forum is also supported by the US and the EU. France has requested to join as a member, and recently the UAE has joined as an observer.