Special reference was made to the sovereign states’ rights
By Michalis Michael
The Joint Declaration of the Greek, Cypriot, Israeli and US Energy Ministers, which was published after the completion of the 1st Energy Ministerial Conference held in Athens, expresses the countries’ absolute support and solidarity towards Cyprus regarding the exploration and development of its resources within its Exclusive Economic Zone. In a joint statement, the Energy Ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, Kostis Hatzidakis, George Lakkotrypis and Juval Steinitz respectively, as well as the US Assistant State Secretary for Energy Resources, Francis Fannon, expressed their concerns regarding the recent provocative activity that took place in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
At the same time, as noted in their joint statement, the US during the Energy Ministerial Conference reiterated that Cyprus’s oil and gas resources “should be fairly shared between the two communities as part of a comprehensive settlement”. During the Conference, the Ministers discussed the possibilities for co-operation in the field of energy, while reaffirming their shared commitment to promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
In this context, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Francis Fannon, underlined the US Government’s growing and tangible support towards the creation of a structured four-way energy-focused co-operation mechanism. In addition, as mentioned in their joint statement, the Ministers of Greece, Cyprus, Israel and of the US have identified several important areas of common interest, including, inter alia, infrastructure plans, renewable energy and energy storage, emergency preparedness, environmental protection and cybersecurity, while agreeing to set up a High Level Working Group (HLWG) that will identify specific energy plans and propose ways to promote their implementation.
What was decided
The Ministers also agreed to work towards signing an agreement on the adoption of a common emergency preparedness and response mechanism related to oil and gas submarine activities, while the High Level Working Group will report to the Ministers of Energy and to the US the progress made on a regular basis. In addition, it was decided to strengthen energy independence, as well as to establish an Eastern Mediterranean Energy Corridor, which will contribute to the EU’s energy security by actively promoting the diversification of import sources and routes.
Special mention is made in the joint statement of the four countries’ strong support towards “the sovereign states’ rights, so as not to endanger security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea”. Finally, the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli Energy Ministers reaffirmed their support for the East Mediterranean Gas Pipeline project, which they describe as a project “of great importance for the European Union’s energy security, that amongst others also creates a strategic link between Europe and Israel. ”
In this context, the Ministers recall in their joint statement “that the relevant Inter-Ministerial Agreement has been finalized between Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy in December 2018, has received the European Commission’s approval in February 2019, and should be signed by all interested parties as soon as possible”./ibna