Israeli, Cypriot, Greek FMs discuss Iran’s IRGC in Cyprus meeting

At a meeting on Friday in Nicosia with his counterparts in Cyprus and Greece, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen asked the European Union to blacklist Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization while proposing a “trilateral alliance”. between the three countries. .

“Iran is a danger to the world. Iranian terrorism hurts the Middle East, Ukraine, Europe and more. I asked my friends, the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus, to act to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization in the European Union, ie ” said Cohen after the meeting. The EU has named individuals and entities within the IRGC but has been reluctant to make a broad list of Iran’s powerful military structure for fear of provoking escalation with Tehran.

Cohen noted that Israel is making great efforts in its relations with Greece and Cyprus, with an eye towards global challenges such as energy, equal economic opportunities and the safety of Israeli tourists and Jewish life.

The meeting came just three days after Greek security forces planned attacks by at least two Pakistani nationals against Israeli and Jewish targets in the country. Israel’s prime minister’s office revealed on Wednesday that the Mossad helped Greece foil the terror plot.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office read, “After beginning the investigation of the suspects in Greece, Mossad helped to sort out information about the infrastructure, the methods of operation and the connection with Iran.” The suspects were claimed to be part of a “wide network in Iran that operates from Iran and out of many countries.”

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus said that Friday’s meeting was the third political dialogue at the level of foreign ministers held between the three countries, calling the “Cyprus-Greece-Israel Trilateral Cooperation Mechanism” “the most advanced of all tripartite mechanisms. “

It read, “With significant progress already made in establishing the cooperation framework between the three countries in numerous areas, the focus is now on defining the next steps in order to further strengthen and deepen the cooperation together with synergies to expand in that sector. region.”

Israel, Cyprus and Greece have developed an alliance over the past decades in various areas such as tourism, medicine, cyber security, energy and military cooperation. Information sharing and the EuroMed pipeline project are considered particularly important as areas of cooperation.

Before Cohen visited Cyprus, Israel’s ambassador to Nicosia, Oren Anolik, met with the chairman of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority to discuss the two countries’ electricity, gas and energy plans. Anolik also recently met with several Cypriot ministers.

During his previous terms, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a great effort to develop this regional alliance, as did the two Prime Ministers who succeeded him, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. Lapid informed Athens and Nicosia in particular that Jerusalem’s efforts to rehabilitate ties with Ankara would not harm the tripartite alliance in any way.

Last month, Netanyahu spoke on the phone with the President-elect of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides. The two leaders discussed cooperation on trade, defence, energy and tourism and agreed to hold a trilateral summit with Greece later this year. No date has yet been published for the event.

This month, air and naval forces from Israel, Greece, Cyprus and the United States launched the joint military exercises “Noble Dina 2023” in the eastern Mediterranean with an emphasis on anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and search and rescue operations. Four days later, Cyprus and Israel signed a bilateral defense cooperation program between the two armies in Tel Aviv, as well as a corresponding tripartite program for 2023 with the Greek defense forces.

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