Diplo­macy has role to play in Europe’s en­ergy se­cu­rity

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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