NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Greece is working with Israel to develop artificial intelligence technology that will help with early detection of dangerous wildfires, the Greek prime minister said Monday.
After talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, Kyriakos Mitsotakis also said Israel could be brought into the EU’s fold when it comes to better coordinated firefighting efforts in civil protection initiatives.
Israel and Cyprus are among several countries that have sent firefighting planes and crews to help Fighting fires in Greece That has consumed large swaths of forest in the past two months, including the largest wildfire on record in the EU that has claimed 20 lives.
Mitsotakis said Greece could serve as a proving ground for Israeli AI technology in the early detection of wildfires.
“We are already talking with Israel about AI-based solutions that will provide us with early detection capabilities,” Mitsotakis said.
Netanyahu said the three leaders discussed “going well” on deploying AI systems for early detection and dispatching firefighting aircraft and crews.
“This is really one of those areas where when we say we will do it better together, there is no question,” Netanyahu said.
The three leaders said they discussed how they could exploit recent natural gas discoveries in Israeli and Cypriot waters in the Mediterranean. Netanyahu said Israel and Cyprus should make a decision on how to export natural gas to foreign markets in the next three to six months.
Israel and Cyprus are looking at plans for a pipeline that would Offshore natural gas transportation from both countries to Eastern Mediterranean island states where it will be liquefied for export by ship.
“We agreed that natural gas and renewable energy are a key pillar of cooperation in the region, especially in light of recent geopolitical developments and energy insecurity, particularly in Europe, indicating the need for energy diversification and increased interconnection,” Christodoulides said.
Another project the three leaders have expressed keen interest in is a Power cables under the sea 2,000 km (1,250 mi) stretch that will connect the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and mainland Greece.
“This is something we are interested in pursuing and we have discussed… (including) how to take it forward,” Netanyahu said.
Energy has been the focus of an ongoing series of meetings between the three leaders since 2016 to deepen their countries’ ties, which Mitsotakis said reflected their importance at the political, economic and other levels.