US Throws Weight behind Greece, Cyprus, Israel for EU-Backed EastMed Natural Gas Pipeline

US Throws Weight behind Greece, Cyprus, Israel for EU-Backed EastMed Natural Gas Pipeline

The proposed EastMed natural gas pipeline is expected to boost substantially the EU’s Southern Gas Corridor.

EU members Greece and Cyprus and their partner Israel have received all-out US backing for their project for an underwater pipeline to transport natural gas from the massive Levantine deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe (the EastMed pipeline).

The proposed EastMed natural gas pipeline is also supported by the European Union as part of its Southern Gas Corridor (Southern Energy Corridor) designed to diversify its energy sources and thus boost its energy security and independence, a policy seemingly designed with large natural gas supplier Russia in mind.

Greece, Cyprus, and Israel help their 6th trilateral Summit Meeting in Jerusalem on Wednesday, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also prominently in attendance.

After the meeting, Pompeo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, released a joint statement declaring their common commitment to “energy independence and security” in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Secretary Pompeo underlined U.S. support for the trilateral mechanism established by Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, noting the importance of increased cooperation,” the joint statement said.

“The leaders agreed to increase regional cooperation; to support energy independence and security; and to defend against external malign influences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Middle East,” it added.

“They welcomed the recent natural gas find in the Eastern Mediterranean and its potential to contribute to energy security and diversification,” the joint document stated.

Both the trilateral summit and the American backing demonstrated by Mike Pompeo have been praised by the leaders of EU member states Greece and Cyprus and of Israel.

The proposed EastMed natural gas pipeline. Map: Edison

“[The goal of the 3+1 summit in Jerusalem] is rather important: to create a secure transport network of energy resources from the eastern Mediterranean region, namely from Israel, from Cyprus and from Greece into Europe,” Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed in his comments at the forum, as cited by AMNA and The Greek City Times.

 “[The EastMed natural gas pipeline will] help both the regional talks concerning security dialogue as well as the regional economic growth,” he emphasized.

“[Greece, Cyprus, and Israel] have grown stronger during that time [since the trilateral summits started]… our trilateral collaboration has become more strategic, especially in the areas of energy and security,” the Greek leader declared.

Even before Pompeo’s attendance of the forum in Jerusalem, last week, the State Department praised the EastMed pipeline project for “moving forward” in exploring and exploiting offshore resources “for the benefit of the people of Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt and Israel.”

During the summit in Jerusalem Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked that the forum of the three Eastern Mediterranean countries “has blossomed into one of best regional associations in the world.”

“[The future EastMed pipeline will benefit] our economies greatly, provide stability in region and prosperity to our peoples and also will diversify energy sources in Europe,” the Israeli leader stated, as cited by the Cyprus News Agency.

Once completed, the EastMed pipeline will transfer natural gas from the deposits between Israel and Cyrpus to Greece, and from there into the European energy network via Italy (through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) and Bulgaria (through the IGB pipeline).

(Banner image: US State Department)

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