House President Yiannakis Omirou expressed his confidence that no foreign government or company will succumb to Turkey’s blackmailing to withdraw interest for Cyprus’ offshore hydrocarbons.
Omirou was addressing a roundtable discussion, on Russian-Cypriot business cooperation, in Ayia Napa, a town on Cyprus’ eastern coast. The discussion was organised by the parliamentary European Club of Russia’s State Duma.
The House President said the Russian Federation was a traditional ally of the Republic of Cyprus in the international arena, supporting efforts for a Cyprus solution while underpinning the country’s independence and territorial integrity.
Relations between the two countries are getting stronger, not only due to strong friendly ties, but also because of the common values we share, Omirou said. He added that the political leadership and the people of Cyprus value the principled stance of Russia, particularly in the UN and the Security Council.
Moreover, he said that Cyprus is one of the most important foreign investors to Russia, while Moscow is becoming a very important business partner for Nicosia. He added that efforts underway aim at lifting the few remaining barriers to boost business and trade relations.
Omirou also referred to new prospects in extending financial and trade relations, due to discoveries of hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and the second licensing round.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the EEZ with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves, while a similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon.
The initial data that emerged from the exploratory drilling conducted by Houston-based “Noble Energy” in EEZ block 12 indicate the existence of a natural gas reservoir ranging from 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a gross mean of 7 tcf.
The government recently decided to proceed with negotiations for four offshore blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ, in the framework of a second licensing round. Negotiations with the companies are expected to conclude within 2013.
Omirou said that Turkey is reacting to the exercise of Cyprus’ sovereign rights within the Cypriot EEZ and extends warnings to governments, in order for bidding companies to withdraw their interest from the second licensing round.
He said that this behaviour was a destabilising factor for the region, which could not be tolerated, and noted that he was confident that no country or company would succumb to this blackmailing practice of Ankara.
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