By Stelios Orphanides
President Nicos Anastasiades said that the recent 30 trillion cubic feet gas discovery off the coast of Egypt may offer Turkey an additional incentive to facilitate the settlement of the division Cyprus problem.
“If we assume that Turkey pursues for her own needs or any other political reasons to restore her relations to Israel and Egypt in order to get the supplies she needs, she will have to settle the Cyprus problem,” Anastasiades told reporters in Nicosia today, according to a statement emailed by the press and information office. “Large findings in the Mediterranean are and will continue to be of interest for the European Union as an alternative source of energy. Without Cyprus, no gas can be shipped to either Europe or Turkey.
Anastasiades added that a pipeline “whether they like it or not” will have to run across the Cypriot exclusive economic zone, which “upgrades the role of the Republic of Cyprus” and increases the need to settle the Cyprus problem “if they want to have the expected results”.
He added that since the discovery announced on Sunday by Italy’s energy company ENI lies close 6 kilometres from in Cyprus’s exclusive economic waters, neighbouring block 10, block 11 and block 12, “nobody could claim that areas containing such a large reserve are not stretching into the nearby” blocks.
Anastasiades also added that he did not see how the discovery could affect negotiations between Cyprus and Egypt on the transport of natural gas to the Arab country via an undersea pipeline.