Israel and Cyprus upgrade ties

Israel's navy and air force will be allowed to use Cypriot waters and airspace.

Israel and Cyprus signed an agreement today that will allow IDF planes and ships to use Cypriot airspace and territorial waters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias signed what is called a search and rescue agreement in Nicosia today. Netanyahu was making the first ever visit of an Israeli prime minister to neighboring Cyprus.

Christofias condemned the terrorist attacks against Israeli embassies in India and Georgia, and he called on the EU to send a sharply worded message to Turkey in response to its threats to use all means if Cyprus distributed offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). He added that he hopes that negotiations on energy projects would yield concrete proposals for collaboration.

Turkey is demanding ownership rights to Cyprus's offshore drill sites. Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) and Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) own Cyprus's Block 12 concession, where natural gas has been discovered.

Christofias emphasized that Block 12 is in Cyprus's EEZ under international law. He said that Cyprus wanted to combine its gas discoveries with Israel's discoveries for the benefit of the people of the region.

In response to a question by a Cypriot correspondent about media reports that Israel wants to use Cypriot military bases, Netanyahu said, "Israel is interested in peaceful cooperation."

Turkey today reiterated that it would not allow foreign oil and gas exploration companies to drill in the region, and that it would take action against them.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 16, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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