Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was welcomed by Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides on Sunday at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Christodoulides reviewed an Honor Guard, with their countries' national anthems playing in the background. The Prime Minister laid a wreath at the foot of the statue of Cyprus's first president, Archbishop Makarios III. The two leaders met privately in the Presidential Palace in Nicosia and afterward held an expanded meeting with the participation of their staff.

"Thank you, Mr. President, my friend Nikos. I have to tell you that when I say 'my friend,'" I don't mean that just in the way of a manner of speaking, but there is a deep friendship, personal, but also between our nations, that is real, that was long overdue. We had an anomaly, both with Cyprus and with Greece, two democracies at the edge of the Mediterranean who basically had very minor, if any, real associations and partnerships between each other for decades and decades," the Prime Minister stated following the meeting.

The Prime Minister continued: "Western civilization is the result of basically Greek culture and Judaism fused together. And that, our commitment to democracy and our common interest in the region—to fight radicalism, to fight terrorism, to fight those who don't share our worldview and want to destroy our world—the combination of these things has made this association, this partnership, real. And it becomes stronger with each passing year. So number one, I thank you for your friendship.

I want to say that this visit, both bilaterally and, of course, with our tripartite meeting tomorrow, will strengthen even more. It happens from one meeting to the other, it gets stronger and stronger. That's reflected by things that you can see here in Cyprus. You can see the number of Israeli tourists growing all the time. Tremendously. It's something that I think also creates a people-to-people bond. You see Israeli investors who are here, hi-tech investors, who are coming in and enjoying both the business climate, but also the talented people of Cyprus. That's growing all the time."

Netanyahu added: "You see our cooperation in security. And I want to use this opportunity to thank you, Nikos, for the excellent work done by Cypriot security services to foil an attempt, a terrorist plot against Israelis on the soil of Cyprus. Very much appreciate it.

We see it in our cooperation in science, for example. We're signing, close to signing, a science cooperation agreement. We're talking about now, in the field of energy, about two main things. One is an electrical connector that will connect Cyprus to Greece and to mainland Europe. And from Cyprus to Israel and possibly to countries to our east. And that gives us the ability to, not to be—forgive the expression—islands. I'm not sure being an island is so bad. We in Israel often even wished that we'd been an island. But you certainly don't want to be an energy island. You want to be connected to other sources of power that can allow a more optimal use of power. Or give you power when there is a failure in your own country. That is something that we're discussing seriously, and we hope to achieve.

We're also talking about various options for cooperation in natural gas. We've been very fortunate, both our countries, in discovering reserves of gas. And we're talking about how we could cooperate in this. This is something that we'll continue in the coming months."

Netanyahu also voiced support for the decision to build a firefighting and emergency center on the Island: "It will serve, I think, not only Cyprus, Israel, Greece, other countries in the region. Now, we think we can, we'd like to be part of it, and we certainly think we can bring a lot of things to it. I mentioned AI because, increasingly, our firefighting efforts in Israel are not only using planes but using AI systems, which immeasurably increase the ability to put out fires.

The climate isn't going to get cooler. It's going to get hotter. And with, you know, with the heating up of our region and the globe, firefighting becomes a really important thing. We can, I think we can do it better together, and that's obvious, and we will."

The Prime Minister concluded: "The last thing that I'd mention is that we have, I think, also the possibility of making real the idea of an Asia-Middle East-Europe corridor, especially infrastructure. That's going to happen as part of the extension of the Abraham Accords and possibly, obviously, possible normalization with other countries in the region. But I'm quite confident that we will have a corridor that could go through Israel, from the Arabian Peninsula, from Asia to the Arabian Peninsula to Israel to Cyprus, and from there to Europe. An example of the most obvious one is a fiber optic connection. That's the shortest route. It's the safest route. It's the most economical route. That is one example.

And I think you, when you sit here in a future meeting, you will see this connection, and I think many others.

I want to thank you for your hospitality. I look forward to our discussions."

Among those attending the expanded meeting for the Israeli side were the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, the Director of the National Security Council, the Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, the Director of the National Economic Council, the Prime Minister's Military Secretary, the Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Adviser, the Head of the National Public Diplomacy Directorate, the Prime Minister's Spokesperson and the Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus. Among those attending for the Cypriot side were the Foreign Minister, the Energy, Trade and Industry Minister, the National Security Adviser, and the Cypriot Ambassador to Israel.