A peace deal on Cyprus would speed up Israel’s plans to export its gas to Turkey, the Israeli envoy to Ankara said on Wednesday.
“We think that the solution to the Cyprus problem can speed up the energy project,” ambassador Eitan Naeh was quoted as saying, adding it was a “win-win” for all concerned.
“A Cyprus solution will make life easier for all,” he told reporters during a briefing in Ankara.
A pipeline exporting gas from Israel’s Leviathan field to the Turkish shoreline would have to pass through Cyprus’ territorial waters.
Though Israel would prefer to have Cyprus’ consent for such a project, strictly speaking Nicosia’s sanctioning of the pipeline is not necessary.
It was hoped that reunification talks on the island – now stalled – and the prospect of a solution would simplify matters.
The Leviathan gas play, discovered in 2010, is set to begin production in 2019.
Turkish media cited an official as saying Israel hoped to sign an agreement with Ankara by this summer for gas exports to Turkey.
An Israeli official said Israel hoped to export gas to Turkey by 2021 as part of a three-pronged project for Leviathan gas to be sold abroad.
For his part, Naeh said that “bilateral trade can and should be doubled in the next few years to $8 billion from $4 billion” between Turkey and Israel.
Israel appointed Naeh as the new envoy to Turkey last December when relations between the two nations resumed after a six-year diplomatic rift.