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Israel PM pitches fiber optic cable idea to link Asia and Middle East to Europe


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak to the media during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on Sunday, September 3, 2023. (Iakovos Hatzistavrou Pool via AP)

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Israel’s prime minister on Sunday floated the idea of ​​building infrastructure projects such as a fiber optic cable linking countries in Asia and the Arabian Peninsula to Europe via Israel and Cyprus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “completely confident” that such an infrastructure “corridor” linking Asia to Europe via Israel and Cyprus is feasible.

He said such projects could be realized if Israel normalizes its relations with other countries in the region. The 2020 Abraham Accords, brokered by the United States, normalized relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and the Biden administration is trying to establish formal ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“One example and the most obvious is a fiber optic connection. It’s the shortest way. This is the safest route. This is the most economical way,” Netanyahu said after his talks with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides.

The Israeli leader’s speech is in itself an extension of proposed energy ties with Cyprus and Greece as part of growing energy collaboration following the discoveries of large natural gas deposits in the economic zones of Israel. Israel and Cyprus.

Netanyahu reiterated that he and Christodoulides are seeking to follow through on plans for a 2,000 megawatt undersea power cable known as the EurAsia Interconnector linking Israel to Cyprus and Greece, which aims to act as a reserve of energy supply for Israel and Cyprus.

“You want to be connected to other energy sources that can make more optimal use of energy or give you electricity in the event of a blackout in your own country,” Netanyahu said. “It’s something we are seriously discussing and hoping to achieve.”

Another energy link concerns a Cypriot proposal to build a gas pipeline that would transport offshore natural gas from Israel and Cyprus to the eastern Mediterranean island nation where it would be used as fuel for electricity generators or could be liquefied to be exported by ship.

Christodoulides said that given Europe’s need for energy diversification in light of the Russian war in Ukraine, Cyprus and Israel plan to develop “a reliable energy corridor” linking the eastern Mediterranean basin to Europe at through projects including gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing plants. .

Netanyahu said his government fully supports the European move to establish a regional firefighting center in Cyprus, from which planes and other technology could be sent to help put out fires in neighboring countries.

“The climate is not going to cool down. It will be warmer. And with, you know, our region and the planet warming, firefighting becomes a really important thing. We can, I think we can do better together,” the Israeli leader said.

Talks between Christodoulides and Netanyahu come ahead of a trilateral meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday.

Since 2016, such meetings between the leaders of the three countries have become a vital part of what they called budding ties that Netanyahu described as “a deep friendship, both personal and between our nations,” which is “real” and “long overdue”. »

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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