During historic visit to Cyprus, PM says Iran ‘most irresponsible force in the world’; signs search and rescue deal with President Christofias
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias signed a search and rescue agreement on Thursday.
According to the agreement, in the event of a disaster Israeli aircraft will be authorized to enter Cyprus’ airspace, and vice versa.
A similar agreement between the Jewish state and Turkey was revoked recently in light of heightened tensions between the countries.
While in Nicosia, Netanyahu also addressed the Iranian nuclear threat, saying the sanctions imposed by the international community on the Islamic Republic “are not working.”
“Iran is the most irresponsible force in the world. I hope the sanctions will have an effect, but so far they have not. We are dealing with a regime that violates every resolution and has no respect for international standards,” the Israeli premier said.
“Iran’s race towards nuclear weapons should concern the US and every other country. Nuclear arms in the hands of such a regime is a cause for great concern to the US and Israel.”
Netanyahu and his wife Sarah landed in Cyprus in the morning hours for a one-day visit aimed at boosting cooperation between Jerusalem and Nicosia in the fields of energy, agriculture, health and maritime research.
Netanyahu is the first Israeli leader ever to visit the nearby island nation.
While in Nicosia, Netanyahu will also meet with Opposition Leader Nicos Anastasiades and various government officials.
Despite reports suggesting Cyprus may allow Israel to station aircraft in its territory, officials said Netanyahu is not expected to raise the issue during his talks with Cypriot leaders.
Past ties between the two nations have been chilly, as Cyprus was wary of Israel’s military and trade relations with Turkey, which does not recognize Cyprus as a sovereign state and occupies its north.
But Israel’s relations with Turkey have deteriorated, and Cyprus is looking to cement ties with neighbors as Turkey’s influence grows.