Cyprus urges Turkey to be regional energy partner
Cyprus has called on Turkey to join the energy alliance of neighbouring states in the Eastern Mediterranean or risk missing out.
“We continue to upgrade our energy cooperation with countries in the eastern Mediterranean and in Europe and certainly, I underscore this, with Turkey in the event of a Cyprus settlement,” Anastasiades told The Economist summit in Nicosia on Friday.
Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said Turkey’s threats against Cyprus’ energy search won’t draw Nicosia into a discussion disputing its sovereign rights. He called on Turkey to negotiate the demarcation of the two countries’ sea borders.
“We want Turkey to be part of this cooperation, we prefer to have excellent relations with our neighbours, but it’s up to Turkey ...The problem in the region is Turkey,” Christodoulides said.
President Nicos Anastasiades said Cyprus has upgraded the already close ties it has historically had with all its neighbouring countries, by establishing trilateral mechanisms in cooperation with Greece, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and by improving relations with countries of the Gulf.
“Co-operation mechanisms that have proven to be particularly successful, with tangible and significant benefits to the partner countries, have resulted in interest from both EU countries, and the Arab world, for participation and extension of the cooperation mechanisms,” said Anastasiades.
He said that the implementation of a multidimensional foreign policy coupled with the country’s dynamic development prospects have helped to ensure that Cyprus is now a highly reliable partner both in the wider region and within the EU, and a stability and security pillar in the East Med.
“In this context, the Republic of Cyprus actively promotes the creation of the East Mediterranean Natural Gas Highway which, through alternative gas transportation, will link Cyprus newly found reserves and those of the broader Eastern Mediterranean, with the countries of the region as well as with the EU.”
Anastasiades stressed that Cyprus has friendly relations with all its neighbours – “with the one sole exception (Turkey) that we hope in the near future will decide not to be the exception any more”.
Referring to the EastMed pipeline, Anastasiades said: “The main objective of the project is to provide yet another option for the commercial exploitation of recent and future gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, for the benefit of both the region and the European Union”.
“We are promoting the construction of i mportant infrastructure projects aimed at ending the energy isolation of the Republic of Cyprus. Among them are the electrical interconnection of Cyprus, Greece and Israel, the EuroAsia Interconnector, but more recently the proposed electrical interconnection of Cyprus with Greece and Egypt, the EuroAfrica Interconnector.”
In statements at the Trilateral Summit in Crete last month, Anastasiades said that “an important element which will become one more connecting link in our relations, beyond the EastMed, is also the EuroAfrica Interconnector which will give the opportunity so that there is sufficient electricity, if and when any difficulty is identified between our countries, and also the European Union, giving thus a different dimension to the dynamic of our countries.”
He had been responding to similar statements by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the President of Egypt, with Abdel Fattah al Sisi elaborating that “we noted the need to cooperate even further in the area of energy, in the sector of electricity and other areas.”
At the Economist summit, US Congressman Gus Bilirakis said that Cyprus is not only securing its own resources but is becoming a crucial energy hub for European markets and for Middle East countries such as Egypt and Jordan.