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FACTDROP: Israel and Cyprus sign security pact


Israel and Cyprus sign security pact

Netanyahu in historic Cyprus visit. Thursday, 16 February 2012

Πηγή: Globes
Feb 16 2012

Israel and Cyprus signed a military pact today, which will allow IDF combat planes and ships to utilize Cypriot airspace and territorial waters to protect Cypriot offshore gas fields.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias signed what is called a search and rescue agreement in Nicosia today. The agreement will officially allow the Israel Air Force and Israel Navy to use Cypriot airspace and territorial waters.

Christofias condemned the terrorist attacks against Israeli embassies in India and Georgia, and he called on the EU to send a sharply worded message to Turkey in response to its threats to use all means if Cyprus distributed offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). He added that he hopes that negotiations on energy projects would yield concrete proposals for collaboration.

Turkey is demanding ownership rights to Cyprus's offshore drill sites. Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) and Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) own Cyprus's Block 12 concession, where natural gas has been discovered.

Christofias emphasized that Block 12 is in Cyprus's EEZ under international law. He said that Cyprus wanted to combine its gas discoveries with Israel's discoveries in the region for the benefit of its people.

In response to a question by a Cypriot correspondent about media reports that Israel wants to use Cypriot military bases, Netanyahu said, "Israel is interested in peaceful cooperation."

Turkey today reiterated that it would not allow foreign oil and gas exploration companies to drill in the region, and that it would take action against them.

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