The Greek government announced on Sunday that it will sign an agreement in the new year for a large pipeline project with Cyprus and Israel that will transport gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

The news agency Al Arabiya reported that the office of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the agreement for the EastMed pipeline would be signed in Athens on 2 January with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

The agreement will provide for a 2000km long pipeline that will transfer up to 12 billion cubic meters a year of natural gas from reserves between Israel and Cyprus to Greece and then on to Italy and other southern European countries.

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The discovery of the reserves has led to a rush to stake claims in the eastern Mediterranean and have sparked a dispute between Cyprus and Turkey.

Turkey faces European Union sanctions for its exploration for hyrdrocarbon reserves off the coast of Cyprus. The Turkish government which occupies the northern part of the island does not recognise the government in Nicosia. It is also the only country that recognises the Turkish Republic of Cyprus and claims that, as a result, it has the right to explore the waters off the entire island.

The Turkish government recently completed an agreement with the Libyan government which set the maritime boundary between the two nations and which Greece has pointed out fails to take into account the presence of the island of Crete.

Meanwhile, Cyprus News reported that the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus met on Sunday and called on countries to respect international law and join them in common initiatives that were aimed at improving the lives of their citizens.

Cyprus’s Nicos Dendias met with his Greek counterpart Nicos Christodoulides Glafcos Clerides International Airport in Larnaca.

Mr Dendias who had just arrived following visits to Libya and Egypt, spoke to Mr Christodoulides about his discussions and the two men also discussed preparations for the signing of the agreement between Greece, Cyprus and Israel EastMed pipeline on 2 January.

Mr Christodoulides said that the structures were being put in place to properly handle instability in the region.