Next year will be a decision-making year for the exploitation of Cyprus` natural resources, President of Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday.
Addressing the 4th Energy Symposium, in Nicosia, Anastasiades said that in 2016, decisions will involve the way of exploiting gas reserves in Cyprus` exclusive economic zone Block 12, as well as finalising energy designs with Egypt and Israel.
Speaking on the Egyptian discovery of “Zohr”, a giant offshore gas field, the President said that it lies only 6 km from Cyprus` EEZ block 11, which has been licensed to French Total. The prospects of more discoveries within our EEZ seem promising, he added.
Anastasiades also referred to the ongoing settlement talks in Cyprus, noting that all aspects of the problem are now on the table. He said that a clear picture on the course of negotiations would emerge soon.
“I believe that there is a good chance for the resolution of our national problem this period,” he noted and expressed hope that Turkey would contribute in a tangible manner towards reaching a solution, which is compatible with the acquis and human rights, while ensuring the state`s viability.
Both parameters, a Cyprus settlement and the exploitation of natural resources “open up horizons that we have never dreamt of for our country,” he added.
Speaking of a trilateral meeting in Athens, between the leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt, the President said that the meetings would lay the foundations for cooperation.
He said a trilateral meeting with Cyprus, Greece and Israel was due to take place in January, in Nicosia.
Within this framework of furthering cooperation schemes, more countries are welcome to join, providing added value to these initiatives, he said.
Anastasiades was due to leave for Greece later on Tuesday accompanied by the ministers for foreign affairs and energy, and the deputy government spokesman, to participate in the Greece-Cyprus-Egypt Tripartite Meeting that will take place on Wednesdays in Athens.
In the morning of December 9, a private meeting will take place between Anastasiades and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, followed by bilateral consultations between the delegations of the two countries.
Afterwards, Anastasides will have a private meeting with Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, and then bilateral consultations between the delegations of the two countries will follow.
Later, Anastasiades, Sisi and Tsipras will hold a private meeting that will be followed by tripartite consultations among the delegations of the three countries.
The three leaders will then make statements to the media.
Meanwhile, Anastasiades had phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which they discussed bilateral issues, and the proposed Cyprus-Israel-Greece tripartite meeting on the island in January.