ENERGY: USA, Greece and Israel fully support Cyprus hydrocarbon search

Greece, Israel and USA gave their full support to Cyprus’ sovereign right to exploit its energy resources, during the 1st Energy Ministerial Conference in Athens.

Greek Minister Energy, Kostis Hatzidakis hosted Cypriot counterpart Georgios Lakkotrypis, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, and US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon.

During their joint statements, the four voiced their common determination to strengthen their cooperation in the energy and environmental fields.

Lakkotrypis expressed his satisfaction for their full backing to Nicosia against the Turkey’s illegal actions in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

He said, the Republic of Cyprus remains committed to preserving peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Lakkotrypis also added the creation of an Eastern Mediterranean gas corridor represents a common desire for all four parties, as it will provide a major energy alternative for the European Union.

He highlighted the importance of the USA’s participation in multilateral alliances in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, as the US presence is highly important both in terms of corporate participation and of expertise.

Hatzidakis, welcomed the fact that the joint declaration of the Conference reflects solidarity for Greece and Cyprus’ positions on energy issues, as well as for the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.

He said that the four Ministers agreed to strengthen their political and technical cooperation in the energy areas of common interest, with the creation of an Expert Group which will monitor the implementation of the political decisions, as well as to accelerate the processes for the completion of EastMed agreement.

Steinitz underlined that Israel supports Cyprus’ right to exploit its energy resources.

He also announced that gas exports from Israel to Egypt will start in a few weeks, while stressing that the energy field can consolidate transnational cooperation.

He said Israel promotes the completion of the EastMed agreement, which represents a pivotal project, ensuring the region’s energy independence.

Fannon argued the energy field could pave the way for political stability and economic growth in the region, while expressing USA’s commitment to this cause.

He highlighted Greeces role as an energy bridge to the European Union, while stressing the importance of infrastructure projects such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) and the Liquefied Natural Gas Station in Revithousa.

Turkey announced its intention to start drilling off Cyprus on 4 May sending the Turkish drill ship Fatih, which remains anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula, in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. A second Turkish drill ship, Yavuz has started drilling off the island’s north-eastern coast.

EU Foreign Ministers endorsed sanctions against Turkey’s illegal drilling in the EEZ of Cyprus on 15 July.

They also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the East Med.

Joint Statement in full

Athens, August 7th, 2019

The Energy Ministers of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Kostas Hatzidakis, the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Georgios Lakkotrypis, the State of Israel, Mr Yuval Steinitz and the Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources of the United States of America, Mr Francis Fannon, met today in Athens regarding cooperation in the field of energy, while affirming their shared commitment to promote peace, stability, security, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Mr Fannon underlined the increasing and tangible support of the US Government for the establishment of a structured quadrilateral mechanism for cooperation that focuses on energy matters.

The Ministers and the United States identified several significant areas of common interest, including, inter alia, infrastructure projects, renewable energy and energy storage, emergency preparedness, environmental protection and cyber security, while agreeing to establish a High Level Working Group (HLWG) that will highlight specific energy projects and propose ways of promoting their implementation.

The Ministers have agreed to work towards signing an agreement for a joint emergency preparedness and response mechanism for offshore oil and gas operations.

The HLWG will report its progress to the Ministers of Energy on a regular basis.

The Ministers and the United States agreed to support their countries’ energy independence and the establishment of an Energy Corridor of the Eastern Mediterranean, contributing thus to the energy security of the European Union by actively promoting the diversification of import sources and routes.

The Ministers and the United States reiterated their full support and solidarity for the Republic of Cyprus in exploring and developing its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone and express their concern with recent provocative steps underway in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The United States also reaffirmed its position that the island’s oil and gas resources should be shared equitably between both communities in the context of an overall settlement.

The Ministers expressed strong support for sovereign states’ rights in order not to endanger peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.

The Energy Ministers of the Hellenic Republic, the Republic of Cyprus and the State of Israel, reaffirmed the support of their countries for the implementation of the East Med gas pipeline, a project of major significance for the energy security of the European Union that also establishes a strategic link between Europe and Israel.

The Ministers recalled that the relevant Intergovernmental Agreement, has been finalized by Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy in December 2018 and approved by the European Commission in February 2019 and shall be signed at the earliest possible convenience by all interested parties.

Source: The Financial Mirror