Cyprus-UAE Foreign Ministers to discuss Cyprus problem

Cyprus-UAE Foreign Ministers to discuss Cyprus problem, energy and Turkish provocations in EEZ

The Cyprus problem, energy developments and Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as well as bilateral relations will be among the issues the Foreign Minister of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides will discuss on Saturday with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
 
The UAE Minister, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus, will have a tête-à-tête with Christodoulides, to be followed by extensive consultations with the participation of officials. According to a Foreign Ministry announcement, the two Ministers will take stock of Cyprus-UAE bilateral relations and examine ways to further strengthen them. They will also exchange views on EU-UAE relations, the wider Middle East and the Gulf region, among others.
 
It is noted that Christodoulides will have the chance to brief his counterpart about the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue, the progress in implementing the energy program of the Republic of Cyprus, as well about the illegal activities and provocations on the part of Turkey within Cyprus’ EEZ.
 
After their consultations, the two Foreign Ministers will sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates concerning the establishment of a Joint Cooperation Committee, as well as an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement and will subsequently address members of the Press.
 
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively.
 
Last month Turkey issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. “Fatih”, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

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The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce organized on Tuesday, June 2, a virtual roundtable discussion, entitled “East Med the trilateral partnership (Greece-Israel-Cyprus) and its role in regional energy security and economic cooperation in the age of Covid-19 and beyond”.

Speaking in the virtual roundtable discussion, Cyprus Minister of Energy, Commerce and Tourism, Georgios Lakkotrypis underlined that Cyprus, Greece and Israel, share common principles, as well as a joint vision for the future. As he said, the Cyprus-Greece-Israel trilateral cooperation instigated further multilateral alliances in the region.

Minister Lakkotrypis expressed the view that the three countries’ determination to find joint solutions reinforces the confidence of the energy companies, which intend to invest in the energy field of the region. As he said, following the approval of the intergovernmental agreement for the construction of the EastMed pipeline by the Greek Council of Ministers, the Cyprus House of Representatives will soon proceed to its approval too.

During the discussion Lakkotrypis underlined that the Republic of Cyprus remains firm in its will for a solution to the Cyprus Problem, calling repeatedly on Turkey to return to the negotiation table. Turkey’s negation to discuss the open issues, as well as its unfounded invocation of the international Law, proves that its accusations about the Greece-Cyprus-Israel trilateral cooperation are also unfounded, Lakkotrypis said.
On his part, Greek Minister of Energy and Environment Kostis Hatzidakis expressed the view that while the Greece-Cyprus-Israel cooperation is focused on the fields of natural gas and electric energy, the three countries could further their cooperation in the environmental and the green agenda issues.

As regards Turkey’s recent moves in the energy field, Hatzidakis stressed that the Greek government remains decisive against Turkish provocativeness, while making clear that the Greece-Cyprus-Israel alliance is not aimed against any country, but rather promotes regional stability and peace.

During his speech, Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz said that the energy field plays a decisive role in the Greece-Cyprus-Israel trilateral cooperation. He also expressed the view that the EastMed pipeline –while being an ambitious project– represents the best and most secure solution for the transport of natural gas. EastMed constitutes a long-term investment, the construction of which is absolutely viable, Steinitz suggested.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon speaking at the roundtable discussion, stressed the importance of ending all provocative actions that could undermine the investors’ trust and the political stability in the region. Concerning Turkey’s recent actions in Cyprus’ EEZ and on the possibility of attempting oil explorations in the Greek Continental Shelf, Fannon said that according to the international law all islands have an EEZ and a Continental Shelf. “We are not commenting on future actions that may happen or not, but we are encouraging states to stop provocative actions, behaviors and statements. Turkey is an important country and we want that it preserves its Western orientation”, Fannon said.

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(CNA)

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