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Greece’s Papandreou to discuss oil drilling with Netanyahu

JTA

September 15, 2011 | 11:20 am

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. Photo by Robert D. Ward

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. Photo by Robert D. Ward

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was scheduled to consult with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu regarding drilling for natural gas near Cyprus.

According to sources in the Greek Foreign Ministry, Papandreou was set to have a phone conversation with Netanyahu on Wednesday evening.

After repeated threats by Turkey against drilling in its Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Cyprus, as well as threats against Israel, Papandreou and members of the Greek security cabinet met Wednesday for two hours to assess the situation, which reportedly is escalating quickly.

According to the American drilling company Noble Energy, there are some 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the seashore south of Cyprus.

A spokeswoman for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the drilling by the Cypriot government is illegal and that the gas belongs to both the Greek and Turkish states of the island.

The drilling by Noble Energy, which also will drill in Israel’s Leviathan block, is set to begin at the end of the week.

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