Cyprus Mail

‘Don’t worry’, Netanyahu tells Anastasiades

File photo: Anastasiades with Netanyahu in Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reassured President Nicos Anastasiades that Cyprus-Israel relations will continue to be reinforced on a wide range of bilateral cooperation to the benefit of the two countries, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Tuesday.

Netanyahu called the president on Tuesday morning, Christodoulides said, to give his reassurances that the agreement to resume diplomatic relations with Turkey will not affect “the close, brotherly and strategic relations between the Republic of Cyprus and Israel”.

Christodoulides also said that the two men had a long conversation, following an initiative of the Israeli premier, where the president was briefed of the content of the agreement signed with Ankara.

Turkey and Israel announced the restoration of their diplomatic ties on Monday, after a six-year rupture. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the two countries would exchange ambassadors as soon as possible, while Netanyahu said the deal would have “immense implications” for the Israeli economy.

Relations between the two former close allies crumbled after Israeli marines stormed the aid ship ‘Mavi Marmara’ in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. During the raid, ten Turkish activists on board were killed and Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador, also freezing their cooperation.

Netanyahu told Anastasiades that the agreement with Turkey does not affect relations with Cyprus, Christodoulides said.

In his turn, Anastasiades welcomed Netanyahu’s initiative and briefing on the principles of the agreement. The president, Christodoulides said, expressed the intention to further strengthen relations between Cyprus and Israel.

“At the same time, the president expressed his belief that a possible solution to the Cyprus problem will contribute, decisively, to the normalisation of relations between the states of the region, allowing at the same time to lift any obstacles for the implementation of energy cooperation between Turkey and countries of the region,” Christodoulides said.

This is the second call the president received from Netanyahu on the same issue, as Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulides said on Monday that the Israeli premier had called Anastasiades “a few weeks ago” to give his reassurances that the pending agreement with Ankara would not affect his country’s relations with Cyprus.

Just because a country improved relations with Turkey, Kassoulides said, did not mean that it was necessarily a negative thing for Cyprus.

President Anastasiades also thanked Netanyahu for Israel’s immediate response as part of last week’s fire-fighting operations in the Solea district.

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