Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has congratulated his Israeli counterpart who took office this week ahead of anticipated big news in Israeli-Arab relations that do not leave Nicosia unaffected.
Kasoulides took to Twitter on Sunday to congratulate newly appointed Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, expressing certainty that close cooperation between the two countries would continue to grow.
“Mazal Tov Eli Cohen for your appointment,” Kasoulides wrote, adding he was “certain that the close and diverse Cyprus-Israel coordination shall continue to grow with your conduit.”
Expanding accords not a matter of if but when
Cohen, who just joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government, said last week he was planning to attend a summit with Arab countries that are friendly to Israel and the United States.
"Expanding the accords to other countries is not a matter of if but of when," said Cohen.
Cohen, who still has to navigate through reservations from Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the Palestinian issue, spoke against a UN vote last week when Cyprus abstained on an ICJ resolution
An official Israeli statement did not name any countries that may attend the summit in Morocco in March. But the Arab nation along with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, had been mentioned in the past as belonging to normalization agreements known as the Abraham Accords.
Israel has stepped up its efforts to normalize relations and start doing business with willing partners and countries willing to abide by good neighborly relations, including Turkey.
Kasoulides recently welcomed a US-brokered agreement between longtime foes Israel and Lebanon, with Cyprus’ top diplomat also expressing the hope that “in a similar way, Turkey will move forward on the issue of EEZ delimitation with Cyprus."
In early 2022 Kasoulides said Nicosia was confident it would not be sidelined as Turkey and Israel began to move ahead with rapprochement.
“Committed to our work together in underscoring our common values and strategic interests and in projecting regional stability,” Kasoulides also wrote to Cohen on Twitter.
Palestinian issue and Cyprus' abstention at UN
Cohen still has to navigate through reservations from Turkey and Saudi Arabia concerning the Palestinian issue.
The former intelligence and economy minister spoke out against a UN General Assembly vote last week.
A UNGA resolution called on the International Court of Justice to probe “Israeli practices and settlement activities affecting the rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.”
The Republic of Cyprus abstained from the vote, which Cohen described as “evidence of the Palestinians’ hypocrisy.”