Cypriot, Israeli ministers invited for talks on energy, security

Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesdya invited his Cypriot and Israeli counterparts, Ioannis Kasoulides and Avigdor Lieberman, for talks on closer cooperation on energy and other issues in a bid to forge a similar pact to the one signed in Cairo over the weekend by Greek, Cypriot and Egyptian heads of state.

The meeting, which is expected to be held in the Greek capital in the coming weeks, followed an initial round of talks in Athens on Wednesday between Greek, Cypriot and Israeli diplomats which culminated in a joint statement condemning the presence off the Cypriot coast of a Turkish seismic vessel. In their statement, the diplomats expressed “concern for illegal actions and provocations in the sea waters of the Eastern Mediterranean in violation of international law.”

Turkey’s charting of the waters off Cyprus, where Cypriot authorities are licensed to drill for oil and gas, was also discussed in the European Parliament on Wednesday, with MEPs on Thursday expected to adopt a resolution urging Turkey to show restraint and respect international laws.

Meanwhile a fresh violation of Greek air space in the eastern Aegean by two Turkish fighter jets caused concern in Athens though Turkish officials subsequently apologized, according to Greek defense officials who said Ankara blamed the incident on an error of judgment by the pilot of one of the Turkish F-16s. The Turkish jets harassed a Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority aircraft close to the island of Psara and one of the two F-16s subsequently followed the Greek plane to Myconos.