The first negotiated Israeli decision — negotiated, not imposed — was announced today from Cyprus.
The Associated Press reported from the Cypriot capital Nicosia this evening that “Cyprus and Israel signed an accord Friday demarcating their maritime borders to facilitate a search for mineral deposits in the east Mediterranean where huge natural gas reserves have been discovered. Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau signed the deal in the island’s capital. No statements were made after the signing”. This AP report is published on the Jerusalem Post website here.
This is an important and interesting development.
The main immediate interest is the formal division of the area where important deposits of natural gas have been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean, and where several countries can claim jurisdiction.
“We could live by ourselves, and we could bring in American, Russian, and other exploration companies to help us develop our own undersea gas. But, we wanted to make it the proper way, and to make everything clear”, said a Cypriot diplomat in the region.
However, it is also a very important regional and international development.
It is Israel’s first bilateral negotiated agreement concerning its maritime space, including an “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ) a relatively recent concept that evolved out of long diplomatic negotiations on an major international treaty known as The Convention on the Law of the Sea.