On the 17th of December 2010, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Markos Kyprianou, and the Minister of National Infrastructures of Israel, Mr. Uzi Landau, signed the Agreement on the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between Cyprus and Israel.
The creation of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone was the product of initiatives belonging to the former President of Cyprus, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos. Despite intense Turkish reactions, the decision of the Cypriot EEZ was immediately accepted by the European Union and the United States. The afore-mentioned agreement between the two states is of high strategic importance for various reasons that will be discussed in the current article and show that a similar agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and Greece is of critical importance in regards to the protection of Greek and Cypriot national and economic interests.
It is fair to say that the Israeli-Cypriot agreement on the Exclusive Economic Zone has come as a result of the geo-political changes in the broader region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
More specifically, it has become clear that Turkey's political agenda in the region conflicts with that of Israel in a number of issues that are of extreme importance. Turkish support to the Iranian nuclear ambitions, the strengthening ties between Turkey, Syria and Iran as well as the unconditional support to the Palestinians on behalf of the Turkish state indicate that the so-called Turkey's Zero-problems foreign policy which seeks to enhance the exertion of influence to the Islamic world, has crossed the West's as well as Israeli red lines. In the context of this emerging geo-political environment, Cyprus and Israel have come closer and signed an agreement that would be mutually beneficial. To continue with, it is worth mentioning that Cyprus has also come to an agreement on the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone with the states of Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.