The energy window, the processes of security in the Eastern Mediterranean and Jane Lute’s work on the same axis
The next Anastasiades-Akinci meeting is expected to be of particular interest, whenever it takes place, subject to what has taken place in the EEZ with Exxonmobil and with France within the framework of Pesco.
By Michael Michael
The results of the drilling on the “Glaucus” target have consolidated a series of processes that were on the forefront, both with regard the energy and security issues in the Eastern Mediterranean.
These procedures concerned France’s continuing presence in the region, beyond the involvement of French companies in Cyprus’ EEZ, in connection with the found quantities of gas that would justify the construction of a liquefaction plant in Cyprus.
Both developments are now expected to grant points at the geopolitical-geostrategic chessboard of the region for the benefit of the Republic of Cyprus and with the related messages inevitably reaching Ankara. All of the above came a step closer through the exploration of the “Glafkos” deposit and the related announcements by Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotropis and ExxonMobil’s vice president for the region, Tristan Aspray.
Although both refrained from elaborating on the announcements and results, even avoiding estimates for the future, information highlights the US presence in the region.
Regarding the presence of the French, on Monday, Cypriot Defense Minister, Mr Savvas Angelides, stressed in his statements that Cyprus does not create military bases for this country and that any improvements that are taking place are in the context of the defense cooperation of the two countries within the framework of the EU Pesco. However, the military presence of the French in Cyprus, in Mari and Paphos areas, where the aforementioned improvement projects are already underway, is a given, but at the same time the cooperation is expected to include an aircraft maintenance unit, probably the installation of a French radar in Troodos etc. At the same time, France via Total, has a known presence in the Cypriot EEZ, along with the Italian ENI, something that must also be taken into account as the events unfold.
Regarding the Cyprus issue
Of all the aforementioned developments, the effects on the Cyprus issue are certainly not neglected. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, in his first statements after the announcements regarding the “Glaucos” deposit, reiterated that the most reasonable route for the gas is through Turkey.
Here, however, there is a big issue according to Greek Cypriot sources. And this generally, in the current phase of the Cyprus issue, is not to engage the debate with the natural gas. It is a standing position of the Greek Cypriot diplomacy that Turkey has a role to play, but it should go into discussions with the Republic of Cyprus on the issue, which is far from being accepted by Ankara. Hence, the process of licensing and gas search has never ceased on the part of Nicosia, despite certain developments in the Cyprus issue.
However, it should be stressed here that any new drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ, confirmed by ExxonMobil or other companies, is planned – according to information – for after September. This opens up a window of developments for the Cyprus issue, a fact admited by diplomats, as long as the first step is taken. The drafting of the terms of reference.
Jane Holl Lute’s work is underway for this drafting of the terms of reference. That is, the framework, which should be agreed by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and on which, even if this agreement exists, negotiations could be resumed.
This mission is not easy for the American Diplomat because of the minutes of 4 July 2017 during the Crans Montana period, which is known that is missing from the UN minutes.
The Greek Cypriot side does not seem to back down on the issue. It is indicative that the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, from London, where he is, speaking to the Cypriot community, raised this point. “And if you hear certain conversations that take place in Cyprus – which would be unnecessary if we were a little more careful about the minutes or outline of July 4, where it was clarified what was presented as the outline submitted on 30 June by SG – it is not accidental that the discussion takes place. It is because Mrs Lute will include part of those parameters. And it is another thing the parameter that says that the anachronistic system of guarantees and the invasive right must be abolished, and another to refer to the document prepared by Mr Espen Eide that the right to intervene is abolished as if he wanted to let it be understood and it is clearly concluded from the text that the guarantees remain, without the right to intervene”, he said about the subject.
Given that a recent meeting between Anastasiades and Akinci has already taken place, as well as what has been said about the energy and cooperation between Cyprus and France, together with the search for the minutes of 4 July 2017 and the drafting of the terms of reference, the next meeting between Anastasiades and Akinci, whenever it takes place, will involve much more issues than the one on February 1./IBNA