Greek, Cypriot and Israeli Leaders Sign Groundbreaking EastMed Pipeline Deal



Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands in Athens. Credit: AMNA

Governmental delegations from Greece, Israel and the Republic of Cyprus signed the agreement for the construction of the EastMed pipeline in an official ceremony at Athens’ Zappeion Megaron today.

Upon its completion the natural-gas pipeline will connect the three countries, transporting the product all the way from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to the nations of the European Union.

The groundbreaking agreement was signed by Greek Environment and Energy Minister Costis Chatzidakis, his Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz and Cypriot Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis.

Τελετή διακρατικής συμφωνίας για την κατασκευή του αγωγού μεταφοράς φυσικού αερίου EastMed

LIVE | Τελετή διακρατικής συμφωνίας για την κατασκευή του αγωγού μεταφοράς φυσικού αερίου EastMed.

Posted by Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday, January 2, 2020

The ceremony took place in the presence of the leaders of the three countries, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One crucial detail of the deal is that the three nations also agreed to adopt measures to protect the proposed pipeline from any possible threat in the future.

This aspect of the agreement is of particular importance, since the broader region is characterized by ongoing serious tensions, primarily due to Turkey’s behavior and its attitude towards the sovereign maritime rights of Greece and Cyprus.

Greek governmental sources noted on Thursday morning that the inclusion of such a clause in the deal is extremely important since no other intergovernmental pipeline agreement has ever contained such language regarding its defense.

This means that the nations of Israel and Greece will jointly guarantee the security of this gigantic, ambitious project, providing a much-needed measure of confidence to the private companies which will invest in the pipeline.

The project is being developed by IGI Poseidon SA, a joint venture of Greece’s state-owned natural gas supplier Depa SA and Italy’s Edison SpA.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is also set to sign the agreement at a later date.

The East Med pipeline project is also actively supported both by the European Union and the United States, who believe that it can play an important role in European efforts to diversify its energy sources since it currently depends overwhelmingly on Russian resources.

Related: EastMed Pipeline: The Mediterranean Mega-Project That Will Change Europe’s Energy Map Forever