The ministers discussed the idea of an underwater electricity cable to link Israel and Cyprus.

(Communicated by the Energy and Water Resources Minister’s Media Adviser)

Energy and Water Resources Minister Dr. Uzi Landau on Tuesday, 24 January 2012, met in Jerusalem with Cyprus Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou. The two discussed infrastructure issues, including possible bilateral cooperation in the field of energy.

The meeting is in continuation of Minister Landau’s visit to Cyprus last November in the framework of President Shimon Peres’s visit. During his meetings with Minister Kyriacou and other senior officials in Nicosia, Minister Landau first raised the idea of an underwater electricity cable to link Israel and Cyprus.

At the meeting, which was held in an especially warm and friendly atmosphere, the two ministers discussed the next steps to advance the project. "This will provide back-up for the electricity economies of both countries and will be the first link of its kind between Israel and Europe," Minister Landau said. He added, "It is possible that the future link with Cyprus will provide Israel with maximum security in its energy economy." Cyprus and Greece are due to sign an MOU for a project to lay a 600-kilometer undersea cable to link Cyprus with [mainland] Europe. When both projects are operational, Israel will – in effect – be linked to the European electricity grid.

The two ministers also discussed the latest natural gas discoveries. Minister Landau noted that the Energy and Water Resources Ministry Director-General Shaul Tzemach has been appointed to chair an inter-ministerial committee to present him with recommendations regarding future Israeli policy vis-à-vis the developing natural gas sector. The committee is due to finish its work by early March.

Before the meeting, Minister Landau introduced his Cypriot counterpart to a group of Israeli entrepreneurs and business people in the energy and water sectors and emphasized the importance that Israel ascribes to projects with Cyprus, in which both private and government companies are involved.

Minister Kyriacou said that, "Bilateral ties are strong and of longstanding. One cannot speak of a new start here; rather of new opportunities that have opened before us and which strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation for the benefit of all residents of the region."

Minister Landau wished Cyprus well as it prepares to assume the EU Presidency on July 1st.

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Energy and Water Resources Minister Dr. Uzi Landau instructs Israel Electric Corporation to prepare MOU to be signed with Cyprus on linking Israel and Europe

Energy and Water Resources Minister Dr. Uzi Landau on Sunday, 29 January 2012, instructed the Israel Electric Corporation to move forward on the implementation of the project to lay an undersea cable to supply electricity and to prepare a draft memorandum of understanding for signing with Deh Quantum Energy, which is controlled by the Greek electric corporation, the Bank of Cyprus and a private firm. This will enable Israel to carry out a feasibility study for the project. If everything goes as planned, it will be possible to submit the project for approval by the Israeli and Cypriot governments in the course of 2012.

Minister Landau first raised the idea of an underwater electricity cable to link Israel and Cyprus when he accompanied President Shimon Peres to Cyprus last November, and discussed it again last week during Cyprus Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou’s visit to Israel.

"This project could have a major positive influence on Israel’s economy when, for the first time in our history, we will move beyond our being an energy island and link up with Cyprus, and through it to Europe. This is a psychological and diplomatic breakthrough that will affect Israel’s energy redundancy and energy security.  We are very much interested in moving forward on the issue," Minister Landau said.