Cypriot Foreign Minister urges EU and USA for a holistic approach in the Eastern Mediterranean

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides stressed the need for a holistic approach by those interested in the Eastern Mediterranean region, noting that despite a US and EU commitment to the regions energy prospects, there was no holistic and strategic approach.

During a discussion at the 15th Economist Summit in Nicosia, he said that there could be no interest for the energy sector in the Eastern Mediterranean, but at the same time no interest in the economy of the region, or developments in Syria, since all issues affecting the area were interconnected

“A holistic approach is needed, if there’s genuine interest in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

In his speech, Christodoulides expressed the view that it was in the interest of the United States and the EU to support the cooperation efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean. As he said, the presence of European and American energy giants in the Eastern Mediterranean and their support in the energy prospects and opportunities of the region, allows for the conclusion that Brussels and Washington have largely shared energy goals and objectives in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“However, despite the clear commitment and support of the two in the energy perspective in the region, at least so far, there has not been a holistic and strategic approach to the region, which often sends confusing messages or even creates a gap that other international powers are using. Actors of the international system who, because of the importance and the prospects of the region, express what I call a holistic strategic approach, “he said.

Cyprus, as he said, as an EU member, will continue to work systematically to highlight the need for further and more meaningful EU involvement in the region and will continue to highlight the need for a stronger targeted and more substantial role for the EU in the region.

US Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber said this was a good time to be an American ambassador to Cyprus, as the two countries were breaking new ground in their relationship. She mentioned in particular the first anniversary of the Cyprus-US defense and security cooperation.

She also said that the US appreciated the opportunity to participate in trilateral meetings established by Cyprus and Greece with countries in the region and referred, to the presence of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to the trilateral meeting in Israel and to the presence of Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon at a trilateral meeting in Athens.

For his part, Defence Minister Savvas Angelides said that Cyprus was playing an important role in the security architecture of the region and in trying to maintain a balance between different and sometimes competing interests. He added that the implementation of the EUs global strategy goes through Cyprus, as it aims to achieve stability in its neighborhood as a recipe for ensuring the protection of EU citizens.

Referring to the trilateral partnerships in the region, he said they played a key role in the decision of energy companies to invest in the Mediterranean region.

The Minister of Defence referred in particular to the debate launched in the EU on a coordinated naval presence of the Union in cases where Member States warships operate in the same area. He said that he had explained to his colleagues the reasons why the Eastern Mediterranean Sea should be a maritime area of interest, something that would create a momentum and satisfy the EUs capacity to respond immediately and dynamically in times of crisis.

Source: Cyprus News Agency