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Israel's prime minister: Med pipeline would be 'revolution'

AP  |  Thessaloniki (Greece) 

Israeli Prime Minister promised today to promote plans for an ambitious Mediterranean undersea natural gas pipeline project, in a bid by his country to become a key European energy supplier.

is hoping to export much of its newly discovered natural gas to by a proposed 2,200-kilometer (1,350- mile) undersea pipeline to Cyprus and Greece.

"It's something we're very excited about," Netanyahu said in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city.

"Of course the idea of the East Med pipeline would be a revolution. We've had preliminary studies of it. It seems promising and we're going to look further."

Netanyahu with Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, after the three countries signed a joint declaration in Tel Aviv in April to promote construction of the pipeline.

Greece and are also planning an undersea electricity cable link and are also considering a Mediterranean data cable.

Once frosty, Israel's ties with Greece and Cyprus have markedly improved in recent years, coinciding with a spat between and regional rival Turkey.

"There's a simple fact with Cyprus, Greece and Israel that brings us very close together. We are all democracies - real democracies," Netanyahu said.

"And when you look at our region ... That's not a common commodity."

The three countries now hold frequent joint military and civil protection exercises, including the recent "Kinyras- Saul" exercises that involved special forces from Cyprus and Israel.

More than 3,500 police officers were deployed around the city, which historically had a large Jewish community that was almost wiped out during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

While in Thessaloniki, Netanyahu was also visiting several Jewish sites, including the grounds of a planned Holocaust museum.

Later Thursday, two pro-Palestinian rallies are planned. A group of demonstrators held a separate protest inside the offices of state-run ET3 television, and a videotaped message was broadcast by the station.

"We would swap our prime minister for a Palestinian activist," protest organizer Petros Gotsis said. "(Tsipras) is no longer on our side.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 15 2017. 22:02 IST