Cyprus FM: Israels path to alliances is through Cyprus

Israel’s “only sure corridor” to strong alliances crosses through Cyprus and the West, the island nation’s foreign minister said.

Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, addressing the American Jewish Committee’s annual Global Forum in Washington on May 3, described enhanced ties between the two nations in recent years, partly as a result of cooperation in exploring for oil and natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean.

She noted Turkish opposition to such cooperation, calling it “bullying,” and said that “in Israel there is a growing sense that the only sure corridor toward friendly states lies to the west, in other words through Cyprus to the rest of Europe, and therefore the corridor must be kept open.”

Kozakou-Marcoullis emphasized that she was not proposing an Israel-Cyprus military alliance.

Cyprus and Turkey have been at odds over the separate Turkish-ethnic entity in the island’s north since the 1974 Cyprus war that involved Greece and Turkey.

Cyprus, and to a degree Greece, have welcomed closer alliances with Israel as its longstanding closeness with Turkey has collapsed in recent years. — jta