President says natural gas discoveries in Cyprus’ EEZ provide opportunities for cooperation

Discoveries of natural gas in Cyprus exclusive economic zone provide opportunities for cooperation with third countries, in the region and beyond and this is why Cyprus has pursued effective collaboration with a number of neighbouring countries, including Egypt and Israel, President Nicos Anastasiades has said.

Addressing an event in New Delhi on Thursday organized by the Observer Research Foundation titled “The European Union � Indian Strategic Partnership in the 21st Century: A Cyprus Perspective”, the President called on state or private companies from India to explore opportunities for partnerships with Cyprus or in collaboration with partner countries in the region.

The significant discoveries of gas reserves in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus open new horizons, not only for Cyprus but also for the region, for the EU that is striving for energy diversification and new routes, but also beyond. The presence of energy giants such as ExxonMObil, ENI-KOGAS, Total, Noble, Qatar Petroleum speaks volumes on the huge potential in the field of energy, for Cyprus but also for the wider region, he said.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, the President said that India has been a steadfast ally in our efforts to reunify Cyprus and its people, through a comprehensive settlement, in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship, in line with UN Security Council Resolutions and EU law. The Cyprus problem is European problem, and the EU is, inevitably, a stakeholder.

“While we remain firmly committed to the ongoing negotiating efforts, we look to friends and allies such as India to convey the message to Turkey that the status quo is unacceptable, and that it needs to engage constructively, and actively in the efforts underway. Peace in Cyprus will send a strong message to our fragile region and beyond, and will be to the benefit not only of Cyprus and its people, but also to Turkey, the EU, and the region”, the President said.

He expressed his gratitude because India, as he pointed out, continues to stand firmly and unequivocally by the Government of Cyprus in its efforts to safeguard the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus following the 1974 illegal invasion and subsequent occupation by Turkey. UN-backed talks are underway with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Referring to the economic cooperation between the two countries he said that one of the main pillars of his visit has been to strengthen cooperation in the economic field, and the delegation which accompanies his, includes over 60 businessmen, who participated in Cyprus-India business forums in Mumbai and in New Delhi.

President Anastasiades said that in the areas of trade and investment the potential is immense and Cyprus position is that it is high time to work towards advancing the EU-India negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement, which will open new avenues of cooperation in the economic sector.

Cyprus very much looks forward to the next EU � India Summit, which will take place in New Delhi in October. It will set the stage for the formal decisions to be made at the highest level, with a view to elevating the ambition and scope of the Strategic Partnership in order to achieve the desired results. Cyprus will do its utmost to ensure that it is a successful Summit, he pledged.

In his speech the President also referred to terrorism and political instability, saying that Cyprus has been consistently making the case for tackling the root causes of terrorism, and this requires joining forces.

Cyprus, and indeed the EU, stand with India as staunch supporters of a comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. Like India, we are fully cognizant of the fact that terrorist networks are global and require a unified response; it is in this context that we participate in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and have provided means and facilities to counter terrorist organisations, for example by providing military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces and actively exchanging information and intelligence with partners, he added.

The President also attended a dinner with the participation of Indian and Cypriot businessmen as well as officials from the Indian government. He said that the agreements to be signed tomorrow between the delegations of the two countries will pave the way for further bilateral cooperation, adding that he will have the chance to discuss with the President and the Prime Minister a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

He thanked the businessmen for their interest in investing in Cyprus, saying that the fora which he had the chance to address, shed light into the unique investment opportunities between Cyprus and India.

The two countries are set to sign agreements in the fields of transport, shipping, agriculture, education and culture.

Source: Cyprus News Agency