Diplomacy has role to play in Europe’s energy security
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told members of parliament that Cyprus can play an important role in Europe’s energy security due mainly to four factors, which need to co-exist.
Speaking before the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Trade, Industry and Tourism, Kasoulides said that Europe is seeking a permanent solution to the issue of energy supply, after the crisis of Gazprom with Ukraine and the Ukrainian crisis.
He noted that diplomacy has a major role to play as regards energy security, adding that Cyprus’ role to the reinforcement of energy security cannot be considered solely on the basis of geostrategic criteria.
Kasoulides said that there are four factors which boost Cyprus’ position and its role as regards the European energy security.
The first is more reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, after the discovery of the Zohr gasfield in Egypt, which has revived interest among oil companies.
The second factor are Cyprus’ synergies and partnerships with countries of the region. Kasoulides said that Cyprus has acted in an exemplary manner as regards its cooperation with Egypt, Israel and Jordan, strengthening its role in the EU.
He cited as a third factor Cyprus’ EU membership, and noted two major projects in which Cyprus as a member has an important role. The first is the EuroAsia Interconnector, which concerns the supply of Europe with electricity produced in Israel, which will be channeled via a cable, and the second is the Estern Mediterranean pipeline (Eastmed) which is the pipeline for the Israeli natural gas.
The fourth factor, according to the Minister, concerns Cyprus’ geopolitical position and the extent of its EEZ, as the Israeli and the Egyptian natural gas will have to pass through the Cypriot EEZ.
Kasoulides clarified that Cyprus is ready to look into the possibility of a pipeline that will pass through Turkey if the Cyprus problem is solved.
He noted that no pipeline can pass through the Cypriot EEZ and connect the gas fields of Israel and Turkey, without the consent of the Republic of Cyrpus, for both legal and political reasons.
The legal reasons have to do with international law and the Law of the Sea, according to which there must be bilateral agreements for a cable to be able to pass through the Cypriot EEZ. The political reasons, he added, have to do with Israel’s engagement that it will not proceed with an agreement with Turkey, if it does not have the consent of Cyprus.