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‘No one preventing Turkey from having an energy role’ Anastasiades says

nuland christos
President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday with Victoria Nuland

No one is preventing Turkey from having a role in energy developments in the Mediterranean, once it has agreed with the Republic of Cyprus on the delineation of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the two countries, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday.

He was replying to questions on the visit of US under secretary of state Victoria Nuland and whether the US official had conveyed a message from Ankara, where she had held talks prior to her arrival to Cyprus. The president was also asked whether Nuland’s comments in various press interviews hinted at energy union with the north before a settlement of the Cyprus issue.

“No, what she conveyed was not upgrading the occupied areas but the need to involve Turkey in the energy developments of the Mediterranean,” he said.

The answer was clear: no-one is preventing Turkey from having such a say and a role, provided it agrees on the EEZ with the Republic of Cyprus, he added.

Turkey has not only refused to recognise the Republic’s sovereignty over its EEZ but has repeatedly challenged it by sending its seismic vessels into Cyprus’ offshore blocks.

Asked about the EastMed proposal – an ambitious project to pump natural gas by an underground pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe that only yesterday was described as unviable by Nuland, Anastasiades said that a feasibility study was still underway.

“What we are waiting for is the final report which is financed by the EU. And I repeat, the position was from the start – and that is why the study is being carried out – if it is viable, if there are investors, if the seabed permits, then it will be carried out. The US government does not decide about a European project,” he said.

And he added: “What everyone can see, and this is very important, is the need for the EU to cease being dependent on specific markets and the alternatives channels for natural gas to Europe and the closest is none other than the basin of the eastern Mediterranean.”

The president acknowledged the study would take some time to complete.

On Thursday, and speaking to reporters after talks with Anastasiades, Nuland said the proposed project was too expensive, not economically viable and would take too long. She instead underlined the need for speedy alternatives to the region’s dependence on Russian energy sources.

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