Greece Wants Cyprus-Israel Link

ATHENS – Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos has asked his peers in Cyprus and Israel to talk about closer co-operation on energy and other issues to form an alliance.

With Turkey trying to grab oil and gas reserves off Cyprus, and having sent a warship past Greek islands, Venizelos wants Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman to discuss how the three countries can work together.

The arrangement would be similar to that worked out between Greece and Cyprus with Egypt, which led to the signing of te so-called Cairo Declaration.

The meeting, which is expected to be held in the Greek capital in the coming weeks, followed an initial round of talks in Athens on Nov. 12 between Greek, Cypriot and Israeli diplomats which culminated in a joint statement condemning the presence off the Cypriot coast of a Turkish seismic vessel, which is accompanied by a warship.

In their statement, the diplomats expressed “concern for illegal actions and provocations in the sea waters of the Eastern Mediterranean in violation of international law,” although there’s nothing anybody can do about it other than to issue press releases being ignored by Ankara.

Turkey’s charting of the waters off Cyprus, where Cypriot authorities are licensed to drill for oil and gas, was also discussed in the European Parliament where lawmakers were expected to also issue a statement urging Turkey to show restraint and respect international laws, which it has refused to do. Turkey won’t recognize the United Nations nor the Law of the Sea.

Meanwhile a fresh violation of Greek air space in the eastern Aegean by two Turkish fighter jets caused concern in Athens though Turkish officials subsequently apologized, according to Greek defense officials who said Ankara blamed the incident on an error of judgment by the pilot of one of the Turkish F-16s.

The Turkish jets harassed a Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority aircraft close to the island of Psara and one of the two F-16s subsequently followed the Greek plane to Myconos.