The future of the Cypriot-Israeli relationship remains promising with its solid foundations and mutual interest in furthering and widening cooperation at all levels, says Ambassador Theodora Constantinidou.
How would you describe the current relationship between Cyprus and Israel?
Built on friendship and on the historical bonds between the people of Cyprus and Israel since Biblical times, the bilateral relations between Cyprus and Israel have reached an unprecedented level today. This relationship has grown to be a strategic partnership which is anchored on the joint vision for a stable, prosperous, and secure future for both countries and the region.
Our partnership extends in an array of fields like political dialogue, energy, innovation, joint academic research, business, security and defense, parliamentary diplomacy, cooperation between our diasporas, counterterrorism and intelligence-sharing, protection of critical infrastructure, cyber-security, environment, crisis and natural-disaster management, tourism and health.
In addition to the excellent bilateral relations, the trilateral partnership which has been established between Israel, Greece and Cyprus is of strategic significance of tremendous geostrategic value. The multifaceted trilateral cooperation is a major contributor to the consolidation of peace and prosperity in our region. The 3+1 dialogue with the participation of the United States further enriches the cooperation and provides the bilateral and trilateral partnership with an added value as it reinforces the efforts being invested by the participating countries to advance partnership in our region.
Cyprus and Israel have been close allies and partners in various sectors, what would you say are the key projects between the two countries at the moment and what kind of cooperation would you like to see developed in the future?
Each sector of cooperation between the two countries comprises of important projects, actions and developments for our countries and citizens and each one of these projects adds to the consolidation and reinforcement of the relations between Israel and Cyprus.
An important project, that could be mentioned is the cooperation between Israel and Cyprus on addressing fires which is a key project for the protection of the environment and people in both countries. Friendship and institutionalised cooperation is what allows us to immediately tend to each other’s side in times of terrible natural disasters and being efficient when we have to address challenges that affect our countries.
Working together in the framework provided by the initiative of the President of the Republic of Cyprus for the creation of a platform of regional action for the climate change, further to the existing cooperation between the competent authorities of Israel and Cyprus, could be a major development in our mutual efforts to effectively address the alarming consequences of the climate change in our countries, in the Mediterranean and beyond.
The thematic of energy and the projects it entails, is another pillar of importance of the bilateral relations of Israel and Cyprus as well as of the trilateral cooperation with Greece. Within the regional prism, the Cyprus-Israel synergy is of prime importance. In this respect, the EastMed pipeline is a project of paramount geostrategic interest which also highlights our firm conviction that natural wealth can bring the countries of the region together, creating common interests and contributing to peace and stability.
The Euro-Asia Interconnector is another major shared project that will eventually safeguard the electrical efficiency in Cyprus and Israel and will guarantee energy security for all the countries involved.
Projects which are being advanced regarding educational cooperation and addressing antisemitism like the cooperation between Cypriot schools and the Yad Vashem or the cooperation between Israeli and Cypriot centers of excellence on research and innovation have also their special importance in bringing closer our civil societies and in developing greater understanding and cooperation.
What new prospects are on the horizon that could help strengthen the relations between Israel and Cyprus?
The prospects for the future of the Cypriot-Israeli relationship remains bright and promising. The relationship’s solid foundations, along with the mutual interest in furthering and widening the relationship at all levels, both give a very promising picture for the future.
Cyprus has been working systematically to build and/or contribute to the creation of platforms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in our region with all countries that abide to the principles of respect, democracy, and the protection of human rights, based on International Law, so as to promote a track of synergies aiming at securing peace and stability as well as prosperity in our immediate and wider region. Israel and Cyprus developed an alliance based on the same vision and aims.
The network of synergies Israel has developed recently with various countries of the region is a major development towards the same direction already bearing fruits of reinforced cooperation in a multifaceted framework of action. Further to that, the close cooperation of Israel with Cyprus as well as with Greece, both member States of the European Union, on a bilateral and a trilateral track, created the bridge that enabled the reinforced cooperation of Israel with the Union too. The recent Memorandum which was signed for gas transfer from Israel to EU through Egypt, is a mere proof of the reinforcement of relations between the EU and Israel.
All these networks of cooperation which are being developed in our region and their spillover effects from the one to the other, create a favourable environment which will facilitate the reinforcement of cooperation on a bilateral level, like the one between Cyprus and Israel, as well as the joint actions undertaken to promote peace in our region.
Global and regional problems which negatively affect not only our two countries but also the region as a whole, such as illegal immigration, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, international terrorism, organised crime and energy security, require a joint response and cooperation on the regional and international level. Such challenges can only be addressed, effectively, in a united manner and guided by our values to uphold democracy, protect human rights, pluralism and religious freedom.
The joint contribution of Cyprus and Israel, as reliable and dependable partner in this respect, to the global efforts to address such challenges, is of decisive value.