Ashkenazi asks Cyprus to help with Europe’s annexation response – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on June 24, 2020

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi called on Cyprus to try to moderate the EUs response to Israeli plans to move forward with the Trump peace plan, in a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday.Ashkenazi said Israel is committed to promoting a peace process in a responsible way and in coordination with different factors in the region while protecting Israels strategic and security interests, based on [US President Donald] Trumps peace plan.The plan includes having Israel extend sovereignty to 30% of the West Bank, including all settlements and the Jordan Valley, though Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have sought to have Israel apply its civil law to a smaller area.EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell and a number of European foreign ministries and UN ambassadors have made strong statements against any Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank. Cyprus has yet to say anything publicly on the matter, but is sensitive to the matter because it is involved in its own land dispute, with Turkey occupying northern Cyprus. Turkey also continues to encroach on Cyprus exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea.Ashkenazi asked Christodoulides for Cyprus to be a moderate voice in the discourse with European states.The foreign ministers also discussed reopening tourism between Israel and Cyprus, which recently downgraded Israel due to an increase in local coronavirus cases.Ashkenazi said Israel is trying to reduce the COVID-19 morbidity to allow flights and tourism to begin again.Christodoulidess visit was in lieu of one by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades with several ministers, which was canceled because of the hike in coronavirus cases in Israel.Israel is the first country Christodoulides visited since the coronavirus outbreak, which Ashkenazi said, shows the strong, stable and solid friendship between the countries that are marking 60 years of ties between them.Christodoulides arrived in Ben-Gurion Airport via helicopter, and the meeting was held in a special coronavirus green zone in the airport, created for the purpose of allowing such diplomatic visits.Ashkenazi said after the visit that Israel and Cyprus have many shared interests in strategic, diplomatic, economic and security matters. Every visit like this strengthens the important ties and partnerships in the eastern Mediterranean.The two ministers also spoke about cooperation on energy matters in the Mediterranean Sea.Israel, Greece and Cyprus signed an agreement earlier this year to work on the EastMed offshore and onshore gas pipeline, planned to be 1,900 km. long, from Israeli economic waters to the Greek mainland via Cyprus and Crete.Another energy related issue between Israel and Cyprus is the Aphrodite-Yishai gas field, about 10% of which is in Israels exclusive economic zone, and the rest of which belongs to Cyprus. The countries have yet to come to an agreement to develop the reservoir.

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Ashkenazi asks Cyprus to help with Europe's annexation response - The Jerusalem Post

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