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Israel’s prime minister pitches fiber optic cable idea to link Asia and the Middle East to Europe

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NICOSIA, Sep 4: Israel’s prime minister on Sunday floated the idea of building infrastructure projects
such as a fiber optic cable linking countries in Asia and the Arabian Peninsula with Europe through
Israel and Cyprus.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he’s “quite confident” such an infrastructure “corridor”
linking Asia to Europe through Israel and Cyprus is feasible.
He said such projects could happen if Israel normalises relations with other countries in the region.
The 2020 U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords normalised relations between Israel and the United Arab
Emirates and Bahrain, and the Bidensadministration is trying to establish official ties between Israel
and Saudi Arabia.
“An example and the most obvious one is a fiber optic connection. That’s the shortest route. It’s the
safest route. It’s the most economic route,” Netanyahu said after talks with Cypriot President Nikos
Christodoulides.
The Israeli leader’s pitch is itself an extension of proposed energy links with Cyprus and Greece as
part of growing collaboration on energy in the wake of discoveries of significant natural gas deposits
in the economic zones of both Israel and Cyprus.
Netanyahu repeated that he and Christodoulides are looking to follow through on plans for a 2,000-
megawatt undersea electricity cable known as the EurAsia Interconnector connecting Israel with
Cyprus and Greece that aims to act as an energy supply back-up for both Israel and Cyprus.
“You want to be connected to other sources of power that can allow a more optimal use of power or
give you power when there is a failure in your own country,” Netanyahu said. “That is something
that we’re discussing seriously and we hope to achieve.”
Another energy link involves a Cypriot proposal to build a pipeline that would convey offshore
natural gas from both Israel and Cyprus to the east Mediterranean island nation where it would be
fuel for electricity generators or potentially be liquefied for export by ship.
Christodoulides said given Europe’s need for energy diversification in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine,
Cyprus and Israel are looking to developing “a reliable energy corridor” linking the East
Mediterranean basin to Europe through projects including gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas
(LNG) processing plants.
Netanyahu said his government fully backs a European decision to create a regional fire fighting hub
in Cyprus from which aircraft and other technology could be dispatched to help put out fires in
neighboring countries.
“The climate isn’t going to get cooler. It’s going to get hotter. And with, you know, with the heating
up of our region and the globe, firefighting becomes a really important thing. We can I think we can
do it better together,” the Israeli leader said.
Talks between Christodoulides and Netanyahu precede a trilateral meeting with Greek Prime
Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday.
Since 2016 such meetings between the leaders of the three countries have become a staple of what
they said are burgeoning ties that Netanyahu described as “a deep friendship, both personal, but
also between our nations” that is “real” and “long overdue.” (AP)

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