Minister of Agriculture: signing of trilateral agreements protects EEZ

Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Nicos Kouyialis, has said that with the signing of the trilateral agreements with neighbouring countries and holding joint exercises, we are trying to protect the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

In statements at the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Zenon where he watched a drill to handle a case of sea pollution from an oil spill in the Republic of Cyprus coastal area of Zygi, Kouyialis said that it is well known that the Cyprus economy is mainly based on tourism and the sea, and for this reason, as government, we attach great significance to protecting the sea, we want to maintain a healthy marine environment to further develop our tourism “.

He added that today’s ‘Orpheus’ exercise, which includes the participation of the states air and naval forces, is part of this framework as well as the tripartite agreement we have concluded with Greece and Israel, to effectively protect the maritime region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Noting that today’s exercise was on a small scale, he said more will follow as we want to improve our readiness to effectively handle such incidents while a bigger exercise will be held in the wider coastal area of Cyprus, its EEZ and Israel, and with the participation of forces from the Republic of Cyprus, Israel and Greece.

This, he added, will take place after the signing of the trilateral agreement between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, probably in February.

According to the Minister, in recent years, the Eastern Mediterranean sea region has faced serious challenges and significant pressure, there is a significant and extensive activity to find and extract hydrocarbons, there is an increasing movement of ships, year by year and all these issues pose the Mediterranean Sea to greater risks than in the past. That is why we are signing these agreements and holding these exercises, he said, adding a similar agreement is also being pursued with Egypt and we are slowly trying to shield and protect the whole of the EEZ of Cyprus. “

An unwelcome incident in the Cyprus or Israeli seas, cannot be handled by a single country alone, we need to unite our forces and coordinate as this incident might spread to neighbouring coastal areas. This is the reason we are holding these exercises and this is the reason to develop these trilateral agreements with neighbouring countries, he added.

Source: Cyprus News Agency