Thank you, Niko and Bibi, for the hospitality. It’s always a great pleasure to be here in Cyprus. We had the opportunity to reaffirm the strength of this trilateral relationship that we have established. It has proven to be incredibly resilient and I think very successful for our countries and for our peoples.
We had, again, today, the opportunity to discuss many fields of common interest, you touched upon many of those, but also the potential of expanding this trilateral partnership to possibly include in a 3+1 format other countries, not just the US, with which we are already working very, very closely, but other countries such as India, which, as the Prime Minister of Israel pointed out, we have a natural interest in looking towards the West and expanding its geopolitical, but also trade footprint in our part of the world. I think this is something that we would look to explore more systematically, potentially also inviting the Indian Prime Minister to join us in our next trilateral meeting.
We focused a lot on the question of energy. This is a topic obviously of common interest, as we’ve discussed numerous times in the past. Greece currently is not a producer of gas, but it is a natural entry point for natural gas in the European market, with significant investments that are currently underway in our country. So we have a great interest in seeing how the Israeli and the Cypriot gas can be exported towards the European Union and in that respect solutions that have the blessing of the two governments, but also tested by the rigours of the market, would certainly be supported by us.
We have always been firm supporters of the electricity interconnection between our two countries. This is a project of great interest as we seek to expand more into renewables and need greater diversification of energy sources.
And of course, in the field of civil protection, we have all been tested this summer by wildfires; Greece in particular. And thank you to Israel and Cyprus for their support. We were also present when Cyprus requested our support during a difficult time for our neighbours, but it is clear that we need to do more to coordinate our activities in civil protection, possibly institutionalizing the participation of Israel in European Civil Protection initiatives. I think this is something that we need to explore.
But, of course, also focus more on how technology will help us address this problem. We’re already talking to Israel about AI-based solutions that will offer us early detection capabilities. And again, if you need a country that has many fires to train your AI models to identify them, then Greece would be, unfortunately, a prime target.
But we need to be aware of the fact that civil protection is going to rise up our list of priorities. This is a very real threat that can have devastating impacts on lives, on property, but also on our natural environment. And obviously, more cooperation is only going to do us good in that field.
Let me also stress what both of you pointed out, the very strong people-to-people relationship between our three countries, the fact that we have booming tourism between our countries but also the potential to further expand the trade and foreign direct investment across our three countries. There are many areas where we can further cooperate and we’ll be looking forward to explore improving our trilateral trade and people-to-people relationships.
Finally, on security and defense, we have strong relationships, in particular Greece with Cyprus, it’s been a very obvious and long-standing relationship, but also with Israel, there’s more we can do on defense. Αnd in the fight against terror I can assure you that we’re cooperating very, very effectively. And sometimes things that never become public actually indicate the depth of our relationship when it comes to our anti-terror initiatives.
So, let me conclude here by just reminding ourselves of the old saying that “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together”. We certainly want to go far and we will go together. But we can also go fast and far and this is what we want to do. So, thank you again for this meaningful and productive discussion and I’m looking forward to our next meeting in Israel.