Prospects from ENI’s activity in Cyprus’ EEZ are important for all Europe, says Italy’s Defence Minister

Prospects arising from ENI’s activity in Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) are very important for all of Europe, Italy’s Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said on Monday.

Pinotti, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus, was officially welcomed earlier this afternoon in Nicosia by her Cypriot counterpart, ChristoforosFokaides. After consultations, in the presence of the respective delegations, the two sides signed at the headquarters of the National Guard General Staff an agreement for the Exchange and Mutual Protection of Classified Information. The Italian Defence Minister was received later by the President of Cyprus NicosAnastasiades and attended a working dinner, hosted by Fokaides.

Speaking to reporters through an interpreter, Roberta Pinotti referred to the friendly ties between Cyprus and Italy, and spoke about the common principles and the common obstacles, difficulties and challenges the two countries face.

The Minister added that they talked with Fokaides about the European defence and how the two countries can cooperate in the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), as well as at the EU and bilateral levels.

Pinotti said they also discussed energy developments and noted that this is an important subject. She added that Italy’s ENI is currently operating in Cyprus’ EEZ and underlined that the prospects from this activity are very important for the whole of Europe.

We need to work for security, in order to overcome the difficulties and the problems and we want to work for the future of Europe and for a flourishing economy, she added.

Cyprus’ Defence Minister ChristoforosFokaides said that Cyprus and Italy are two Mediterranean countries facing common challenges and threats. They are both committed in advancing security, stability and peace and are working to promote their joint interests, that are identical with European interests, he added.

Enhancing solidarity and cooperation between member states is essential, according to Fokaides, who added that ongoing consultations on the deepening of defence cooperation in Europe were timely.

He also said that they exchanged views with Pinotti on PESCO, expressing support for these important initiatives in the realm of defence cooperation.

The Cypriot Minister also informed his counterpart for the initiatives Cyprus is undertaking in the framework of a concerted regional policy, through its bilateral or trilateral cooperation schemes with neighboring countries.

Cyprus’ defence cooperation with all countries in the region aims to address common threats, terrorism and the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, said the Minister. He added that it also promotes maritime and energy security, in light of important energy prospects in the Eastern Mediterranean. These prospects are of strategic importance for Europe’s energy future according to Fokaides.

The Minister assured his interlocutor that Cyprus will continue working to further upgrade the country’s role as a contributor to security and stability and as a catalyst for regional cooperation, taking always into account international law and EU principles.

He went on to say that he briefed his Italian counterpart over the activities and designs of the Cypriot government in the energy sector, given ENI’s important participation and role, as well as over the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue.

The Minister reiterated the commitment of the government of the Republic of Cyprus to continue working for a Cyprus settlement, within the UN framework, that will put an end to the absurdity of Cyprus’ occupation by Turkey. The solution will reunite Cyprus and fully safeguard the rights of all citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, within the framework guaranteed by the EU itself, Fokaides said.

Regarding the agreement signed earlier with Italy’s Defence Minister, Fokaides said it was another tangible proof of close ties and of the will to enhance bilateral cooperation.

Pinotti is expected to depart on Monday evening from Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island. So far, repeated UN-led rounds of peace talks have not yielded any results towards a solution that would reunite the country.

Source: Cyprus News Agency