Greece, Cyprus, Israel, US Discuss Energy Cooperation

Greek Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Hatzidakis, center, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon, right, and Cyprus' Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis take part in a summit in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS (AP) — Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation.

Cyprus Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis, speaking after talks in Athens, said he had received support from his counterparts from Greece, Israel and the U.S. regarding his country’s right to drill for natural resources.

Tension has been mounting between Cyprus and Turkey over energy exploration, with Cyprus calling on Turkey to halt drilling for gas in waters where the ethnically divided east Mediterranean island nation has exclusive economic rights.

Israeli Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz also expressed hope for speedy progress on the East Med pipeline, a project to link eastern Mediterranean gas deposits to Europe.

Cyprus’ Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis , speaks during a summit in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, right, shakes hands with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon during a summit in Athens, on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Greek Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Hatzidakis, second left, shakes hands with Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, right, as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon, second right, and Cyprus’ Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis , left, look on during a summit in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, right, sits next to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon during a summit in Athens, on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon, speaks during a summit in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Greek Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Hatzidakis, left, shakes hands with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon during a summit in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Israel Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, right, talks with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon during a summit in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Greek Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Hatzidakis, left, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Energy Francis Fannon gesture during a summit in Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Energy ministers from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States say they have been deepening their cooperation in the energy sector, noting that while energy issues can create regional tension, they can also foster cooperation.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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