Nicosia, December 8, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
House President Yiannakis Omirou has said that rapid developments in the region make it necessary for the Republic of Cyprus to proceed fast with the implementation of its energy strategy, with a view to promote its reliability, flexibility and competitiveness.
Addressing the 4th Energy Symposium organized in Nicosia by the Institute of Energy for SE Europe (IENE), Omirou that this is necessary particularly under the current adverse conditions of the global economy and the subsequent reduction in the price of natural gas, and while the country is striving to recover from the repercussions of the economic crisis and the hard decisions taken by the Eurogroup.
In March 2013 Cyprus, in a bid to avert the collapse of its banking sector, concluded with its international lenders an agreement on a €10 billion financial assistance package, that featured an unprecedented haircut on uninsured banking deposits.
Omirou said that Cyprus` ultimate goal to become a regional energy centre, in the framework of its foreign policy, is directly linked to these developments.
He stressed that “we must exploit the opportunities that are being created, having always in mind the substance of the Cyprus problem, which is the invasion and the illegal military occupation of the Republic of Cyprus` territory by Turkey, as well as the need for a correct political settlement, according to international law, the relevant UN resolutions and the European values and principles.”
Omirou said that a pivotal parameter of Cyprus` strategy is to highlight the Eastern Mediterranean as an alternative option to supply the EU with gas. He noted that the approval of three projects submitted by Cyprus, the “Euro-Asia Interconnector”, the “EastMed Pipeline” and another one that will transfer gas to Cyprus constitutes a step towards the right direction.
He said that these projects as well as other actions promoted by Cyprus, including the increased use of renewable energy sources and the use of natural gas in the production of electricity, aim at lifting Cyprus` energy isolation to the benefit of security, employment and development. He noted that the EU must show a stronger commitment towards these goals.
The House President said that by using its unique advantages, Cyprus is called UPON to respond to its important geo-strategic role as a factor of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, as a bridge between Europe, the Arab countries and Israel and as a reliable route serving the goal of the European energy security. He noted that energy is the main sector on which Cyprus` and Greece`s strategic cooperation with Egypt, Israel and Jordan is based.
Furthermore he stressed that the Republic of Cyprus energy strategy cannot and must not become hostage to Turkish intransigence in the Cyprus problem. He said that Turkey`s insistence on unacceptable demands and threats against the exercise by the Republic of Cyprus of its sovereign energy rights, within its Exclusive Economic Zone and according to the international law, leave no room for complacency.
Furthermore, he said that the announced intention of the European Commission to promote the opening of five out of six accession negotiating chapters for Turkey, including the one on energy, which has unilaterally been frozen by the Republic of Cyprus, rewards Turkey and encourages Turkish arrogance and intransigence.