Under draconian security measures, the trilateral summit between Greece, Cyprus and Israel started in Thessaloniki on Thursday morning. High on the agenda are energy and security issues in the region, the situation in the Middle East and the Qatar issue as well as the Cyprus and the Palestinian issues.
The summit started with a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, a bilateral meeting between Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is scheduled for noon.
the schedule includes also a plenum meeting of the 3rd Greece-Israel High Level Cooperation Council, the trilateral meeting of the three leaders and parallel tripartite meetings of counterpart ministers, signing a joint communique and statements to the media, a working lunch.
Before leaving for Greece, Netanyahu said the summit in Thessaloniki will focus on innovation, energy, security and strategic cooperation, economic matters and tourism.
It is the third trilateral summit in 18 months. The first trilateral summit took place in January 2016 in Nicosia, Cyprus, followed by a second one in Jerusalem in December.
“Thessaloniki was selected as the site of the meeting because of the Jewish history there – most of the community’s 60,000 Jews were deported and killed after the Nazis occupied Greece in 1941,” Jerusalem Post notes.
At 11:45 p.m., the prime ministers will unveiling of a plaque for the Holocaust Museum of Thessaloniki.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived with a big convoy of eight cars, four police vehicles and one ambulance.
Tsipras’ convoy had six cars, two police and no ambulance.
Tsipras’ flight from Athens to Thessaloniki last night was kind of ‘adventurous‘ due to bad weather conditions and rain storm. the airplane landed with 3 hours delay.
Greek police has stepped up security measures with increased policing patrols and traffic regulations.
The area around the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, where the meeting is taking place, is a no-go zone, with police securing the area from the street and the sea. Authorities have also banned stopping and parking in the area for all cars until Thursday night.
Police is also focusing on protest rallies planned during the meeting at 19:00 by pro-Palestinian and anti-NATO organizations and groups. The Greek Committee for International Peace along with members of the Palestinian community has called a rally on Aghias Sofias square, while anti-establishment and far-left groups are planning a rally at the Venizelos statue.
More pictures from security measures here.