Despite the fact that Israel has banned all foreign visits to the country over the next two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the trilateral meeting of Greece, Israel and Cyprus will be held as scheduled, on Tuesday (Dec. 7), Israel’s ambassador to Greece Yossi Amrani said at a press briefing on Thursday.
It was Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s personal decision that this meeting of the three countries’ leaders must take place in spite of the ban, said Amrani. “I think this is a very clear indication of the importance that the Israeli premier attaches to the relationship with these two countries,” he noted.
The Israeli diplomat mentioned the significance of the Abraham Accords as a development that creates many opportunities for all three countries. In this context, he said that the diplomatic cooperation of all three countries with the United Arab Emirates can help formulate a cooperation program for climate change and food security.
Amrani also highlighted the significance of energy policies to the defense and security of both Israel and Greece, and he underlined Egypt’s important role in the sector. “Egypt is very instrumental in creating an option of shipping gas from Israel reservoirs from Egypt, from its energy facilities to Europe via Greece,” he said.
Referring to Turkey’s efforts to approach countries in the region, Amrani said these are welcome, but he underlined that they must be followed by changes in policy, specifically regarding “its patronage, and support of certain Islamic elements and their terrorist activities in regions controlled by Israel.”
The relationship of Greece, Cyprus and Israel “is a powerful one,” Amrani noted, and he added that “we are not playing a zero-sum game.” He also noted that Israel “can be friends with Turkey, and also have a close cooperation with Greece,” he said.
Finally, Amrani pointed out that “Greece is a very important actor in the region’s diplomacy,” and can become the connecting factor that brings together different countries in different formations to cooperate on different issues, one of which he named is food security. He noted that “a successful trilateral is one which would establish the relationship and build momentum for the future.”