The efforts of Cyprus and Egypt to explore and exploit the hydrocarbons reserves that exist in their Exclusive Economic Zones, have opened up new opportunities for further enhancing the strategic relations between Cyprus and Egypt, said Monday President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, receiving the credentials of the new Ambassador of Egypt, Heba Salaheldin Elmarassi.
“ The strengthening of our bilateral relations in energy matters, with particular emphasis in the field of hydrocarbons, will have positive effects in terms of ensuring the economic development and prosperity of the peoples of both countries, thus fostering peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean”, said the President.
He added that the cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons could also serve as a catalyst for a broader cooperation on a regional level.
Exploratory drilling carried by Huston-based Noble Energy in Cyprus’ EOZ in 2011 revealed a gross natural mean raging from 5 to 7 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
Speaking about the political situation in Egypt, President Anastasiades expressed his belief that the Egyptian people will successfully embark on a transition towards a fully-fledged democracy, abiding by the rule of law, respect of pluralism and the rights of all.
“Our sensitive and conflict-fraught region is in need of Egypt fully assuming its pivotal role in the Arab world and to actively contributing to efforts towards achieving peace and security in the Middle East”, he added.
As regards the Cyprus question, the President reiterated the re-launching of the negotiations under the aegis of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the framework of his Good Offices Mission, which aims at a fair, viable and mutually acceptable settlement based on the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the principles and values upon which the EU is founded, remains Government’s first priority.
“We are ready to examine inventive ways to carry the process forward to ultimately achieve the re-unification of our country. The recent appointment by the Government of Cyprus of a negotiator of the Greek-Cypriot community illustrates our approach towards carefully preparing the ground for result-oriented negotiations and highlights our efforts to reach at last a settlement, the reunification of our country and a common European future for all our citizens”, he said.
Speaking about the economic hardships facing the people of Cyprus, he said that the Government is determined to work hard to address the painful consequences of the restructuring of the economy.
“A series of measures have been adopted in order to kick-start the economy. More will follow. We shall be concentrating on developing various sectors of the economy, with a particular focus on shipping, tourism, infrastructure and energy”, he said.
He added that the discovery of vast amounts of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean has revealed region’s importance both economically and politically.
The new Ambassador of Egypt pointed out that The Republic of Cyprus has always enjoyed a special importance to Egypt with its geo-strategic location, its membership in the European Union and its proximity to the country, thus making it all the more crucial to Cairo throughout time politically, economically and culturally.
She added that “we shall never forget the support and solidarity of the Government and people of Cyprus for the legitimate demands of Egyptians for freedom, dignity and social justice”.
The Ambassador also said that Egypt have always expressed, and will continue to express support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, based on the United Nations resolutions, in different regional and international fora.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Previous UN led efforts to reunify the island have been unsuccessful. New talks are expected to begin in the autumn.
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