The past weeks have seen a surge in diplomatic activity between Cyprus and Russia, according to the think-tank Middle East Strategic Perspectives.
A parliamentary delegation headed by Speaker Yiannakis Omirou arrived in Moscow on 03/07 for a two-day official visit. Omirou met with Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Yury Sentyurin. Also present at the meeting were representatives of Novatec and GazpromBank. Novatec and GPB Global Resources were part of a consortium, also including France’s Total, pre-selected for exploration rights in Block 9 in Cyprus EEZ, but negotiations were suspended by Cyprus, and the license was ultimately awarded to ENI and KOGAS. This effectively excluded Russian participation in developing Cypriot gas at the time. But Russia seems to be trying to find alternative ways to guarantee a certain involvement in the Cypriot gas sector.
According to Omirou, the Russians have made it clear that Russia has a strategic interest in the energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Russians have reportedly inquired about the LNG plant Cyprus is planning to build in Vasilikos. If the project is implemented, it would guarantee that a portion of Cypriot (and perhaps Israeli and Lebanese) gas is directed to non-European markets.
Russia and Cyprus are also looking to deepen their military cooperation. According to Cypriot Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou, Moscow is seeking the use of sea and air facilities in the island by its navy and air force.
Get all the latest news and videos in your inbox. Register FREE