Cyprus issue, bilateral ties and energy, the focus of ambassadors’ speeches at Overseas Cypriots’ conference

The Cyprus issue and the prospects for the resumption of the UN-backed talks, bilateral ties and the energy sector in the light of Turkeys provocative stance in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone were the focus of the interventions of five Ambassadors who addressed on Friday the Conference of the Overseas Cypriots, held in Nicosia.

In his speech, Israeli Ambassador Sammy Revel said that the two countries enjoy very close relations that go back many years. He pointed out that Cyprus and Israel, because of their location in a very volatile region, face the same dangers and cooperate more and more, adding that this is the way forward. The Israeli Ambassador said that geography is destiny and both countries share the same destiny in living in this tough region and neighbourhood adding that the way forward is to build partnerships as an alternative to extremism and terrorism.

He added that his country works together with Cyprus to really make a point; that there is an alternative to terrorism that brings better future for generations, prosperity , peace, stability and security.

”We are very close neighbours and independent democracies, we have a strategic partnership but also a partnership in the economic field, the energy and tourism”, he added. The Ambassador said that Israeli tourists enjoy the warmth of the people here in Cyprus and they build personal friendships.

He also condemned Turkeys actions in Cyprus EEZ, saying that Cyprus has a sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural reserves. This is our firm position, and hopefully we could solve issues without military intervention, he said.

In her intervention, US Ambassador Kathleen Doherty said that the geographic position of Cyprus is both an opportunity but also a challenge and referred to the energy field, saying that US company Exxon Mobil is going to be drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ later on this year.

Noting that Eastern Mediterranean gas, which includes also Israeli, Egyptian and potentially Lebanese gas, is a great way for this area to develop economically and, adding it helps Europe diversify its energy sources particularly away from its dependency from Russian gas.

She underlined once more the US position that Washington recognizes the Republic of Cyprus’ rights to drill in its EEZ and said that when Rex Tillerson, former US Secretary of State (February 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018) was in Turkey, he was very clear in his engagements with Turkish officials that what they were doing was unacceptable.

As regards UNFICYP, she said that it has never been a question of cost, explaining that what the US desires is to have a look at UNFICYP, whether it is fulfilling its mandate as it should, whether its structure is appropriate for the conditions on the ground noting that the conditions are constantly changing, both good and bad, and that there are some new security threats to the island that are not related necessarily to Turkish troops, like organized crime.

She reiterated her country’s support for the reunification of Cyprus in a bizonal bicommunal federation and said that the region where Cyprus is situated is a tough neighbourhood with a lot of challenges and that the US see Cyprus as the maritime frontier of Europe.

In her intervention the Ambassador of Egypt Mai Taha Mohamed conveyed to the Greek people the condolences of the Egyptian government and assured of the readiness of her government to offer any kind of assistance.

She spoke about bilateral cooperation with Cyprus as well as the trilateral one in the participation of Greece. In particularly, referring to the field of Energy, she said that they are close to signing an intergovernmental pipeline agreement which will pave the way to pump Cypriot gas to Egyptian shores.

‘Energy discoveries should serve as a catalyst for stability and prosperity for the eastern Mediterranean’ she underlined.

Asked about Turkey harassing Cyprus’ EEZ, she said that Egypt supports Cyprus in its drillings in its EEZ and condemns the harassments of Turkey. ‘We hope that we will not reach the point where we will have to use the military in the region’ she said, adding but we are going to offer every possible help to Cyprus’.

Greece’s Ambassador Elias Photopoulos thanked the international community and especially Cyprus for the support offered during the tragedy that hit the country. He also referred to trilateral relations between Cyprus, Greece and other countries in the region, saying that the geographic region is a non-stable one and Cyprus, being a democratic, stable EU country has a role to play. He expressed the belief that through multilateral cooperation they can work in fields that can promote prosperity and peace.

‘This is our target and this is what we have done already I believe very successfully’ he said.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, he said that it is an issue of invasion and occupation and noted that Athens will continue to support the reunification talks and the mission of UNSG’s envoy Jane Holl Lute adding ‘we believe that this time we will have a positive result’ provided that Turkey shows the necessary will and the international community continues to support the process. He stressed that UNFICYP’s role has to continue and its mandate must not change.

Regarding energy issues, he stressed that Greece’s position on the issue is clear, that Nicosia has every right in its EEZ.

The UK’s Deputy High Commissioner, Ian Whiting said that the diaspora is at the heart of bilateral relations adding that both countries enjoy common values, also as member of the Commonwealth, and they cooperate in the defence sector, the security sector, in the area of the reform of the public sector as well as in education.

He referred to Brexit and said that his country is working hard so that Brexit does not bring negative consequences to British living on the island or Cypriots residing in the UK.

As regards the Cyprus solution, the Deputy High Commissioner said that his country strongly supports the reunification process for a just and viable solution and expressed hope that the appointment of the new UNSG Envoy and her work will pave the way for the resumption of the UN-backed talks. He said that UK looks forward to welcoming her to the UK and added that a good progress was made last year in Crans Montana and along with her appointment and the adopted of the UNFICYP resolution offer an opportunity for a new momentum.

Whiting said that his country is concerned about Turkey’s actions in Cyprus’ EEZ and is urging everyone to work towards a solution, pointing out through a settlement all the Cypriots can benefit.

The Republic of Cyprus remains divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island. Numerous UN-backed talks, aiming at reunifying the island under a federal roof, have failed to yield any results. The latest round of peace talks took place in July last at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana but ended inconclusively. The UN Security Council on Thursday approved resolution 2430 renewing UNFICYP’s mandate until 31st January 2019. The United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out. The mandate of the force is renewed every six months by the Security Council.

So far Cyprus has carried out three licensing rounds awarding exploration licences for eight of its offshore blocks in its EEZ.

In early 2018, Turkish warships blocked twice SAIPEM 12000, a drillship commissioned by Italian energy company ENI, from carrying out drilling operations in block 3 of Cyprus EEZ.

Source: Cyprus News Agency

Cyprus issue, bilateral ties and energy, the focus of ambassadors’ speeches at Overseas Cypriots’ conference

The Cyprus issue and the prospects for the resumption of the UN-backed talks, bilateral ties and the energy sector in the light of Turkeys provocative stance in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone were the focus of the interventions of five Ambassadors who addressed on Friday the Conference of the Overseas Cypriots, held in Nicosia.

In his speech, Israeli Ambassador Sammy Revel said that the two countries enjoy very close relations that go back many years. He pointed out that Cyprus and Israel, because of their location in a very volatile region, face the same dangers and cooperate more and more, adding that this is the way forward. The Israeli Ambassador said that geography is destiny and both countries share the same destiny in living in this tough region and neighbourhood adding that the way forward is to build partnerships as an alternative to extremism and terrorism.

He added that his country works together with Cyprus to really make a point; that there is an alternative to terrorism that brings better future for generations, prosperity , peace, stability and security.

”We are very close neighbours and independent democracies, we have a strategic partnership but also a partnership in the economic field, the energy and tourism”, he added. The Ambassador said that Israeli tourists enjoy the warmth of the people here in Cyprus and they build personal friendships.

He also condemned Turkeys actions in Cyprus EEZ, saying that Cyprus has a sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural reserves. This is our firm position, and hopefully we could solve issues without military intervention, he said.

In her intervention, US Ambassador Kathleen Doherty said that the geographic position of Cyprus is both an opportunity but also a challenge and referred to the energy field, saying that US company Exxon Mobil is going to be drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ later on this year.

Noting that Eastern Mediterranean gas, which includes also Israeli, Egyptian and potentially Lebanese gas, is a great way for this area to develop economically and, adding it helps Europe diversify its energy sources particularly away from its dependency from Russian gas.

She underlined once more the US position that Washington recognizes the Republic of Cyprus’ rights to drill in its EEZ and said that when Rex Tillerson, former US Secretary of State (February 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018) was in Turkey, he was very clear in his engagements with Turkish officials that what they were doing was unacceptable.

As regards UNFICYP, she said that it has never been a question of cost, explaining that what the US desires is to have a look at UNFICYP, whether it is fulfilling its mandate as it should, whether its structure is appropriate for the conditions on the ground noting that the conditions are constantly changing, both good and bad, and that there are some new security threats to the island that are not related necessarily to Turkish troops, like organized crime.

She reiterated her country’s support for the reunification of Cyprus in a bizonal bicommunal federation and said that the region where Cyprus is situated is a tough neighbourhood with a lot of challenges and that the US see Cyprus as the maritime frontier of Europe.

In her intervention the Ambassador of Egypt Mai Taha Mohamed conveyed to the Greek people the condolences of the Egyptian government and assured of the readiness of her government to offer any kind of assistance.

She spoke about bilateral cooperation with Cyprus as well as the trilateral one in the participation of Greece. In particularly, referring to the field of Energy, she said that they are close to signing an intergovernmental pipeline agreement which will pave the way to pump Cypriot gas to Egyptian shores.

‘Energy discoveries should serve as a catalyst for stability and prosperity for the eastern Mediterranean’ she underlined.

Asked about Turkey harassing Cyprus’ EEZ, she said that Egypt supports Cyprus in its drillings in its EEZ and condemns the harassments of Turkey. ‘We hope that we will not reach the point where we will have to use the military in the region’ she said, adding but we are going to offer every possible help to Cyprus’.

Greece’s Ambassador Elias Photopoulos thanked the international community and especially Cyprus for the support offered during the tragedy that hit the country. He also referred to trilateral relations between Cyprus, Greece and other countries in the region, saying that the geographic region is a non-stable one and Cyprus, being a democratic, stable EU country has a role to play. He expressed the belief that through multilateral cooperation they can work in fields that can promote prosperity and peace.

‘This is our target and this is what we have done already I believe very successfully’ he said.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, he said that it is an issue of invasion and occupation and noted that Athens will continue to support the reunification talks and the mission of UNSG’s envoy Jane Holl Lute adding ‘we believe that this time we will have a positive result’ provided that Turkey shows the necessary will and the international community continues to support the process. He stressed that UNFICYP’s role has to continue and its mandate must not change.

Regarding energy issues, he stressed that Greece’s position on the issue is clear, that Nicosia has every right in its EEZ.

The UK’s Deputy High Commissioner, Ian Whiting said that the diaspora is at the heart of bilateral relations adding that both countries enjoy common values, also as member of the Commonwealth, and they cooperate in the defence sector, the security sector, in the area of the reform of the public sector as well as in education.

He referred to Brexit and said that his country is working hard so that Brexit does not bring negative consequences to British living on the island or Cypriots residing in the UK.

As regards the Cyprus solution, the Deputy High Commissioner said that his country strongly supports the reunification process for a just and viable solution and expressed hope that the appointment of the new UNSG Envoy and her work will pave the way for the resumption of the UN-backed talks. He said that UK looks forward to welcoming her to the UK and added that a good progress was made last year in Crans Montana and along with her appointment and the adopted of the UNFICYP resolution offer an opportunity for a new momentum.

Whiting said that his country is concerned about Turkey’s actions in Cyprus’ EEZ and is urging everyone to work towards a solution, pointing out through a settlement all the Cypriots can benefit.

The Republic of Cyprus remains divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island. Numerous UN-backed talks, aiming at reunifying the island under a federal roof, have failed to yield any results. The latest round of peace talks took place in July last at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana but ended inconclusively. The UN Security Council on Thursday approved resolution 2430 renewing UNFICYP’s mandate until 31st January 2019. The United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out. The mandate of the force is renewed every six months by the Security Council.

So far Cyprus has carried out three licensing rounds awarding exploration licences for eight of its offshore blocks in its EEZ.

In early 2018, Turkish warships blocked twice SAIPEM 12000, a drillship commissioned by Italian energy company ENI, from carrying out drilling operations in block 3 of Cyprus EEZ.

Source: Cyprus News Agency