Cyprus Mail

Working groups set up to resolve Israel-Cyprus gas dispute

euroasia map
File photo: EuroAsia aims to connect the power grids of Cyprus, Greece and Israel

The EuroAsia Interconnector can be a gamechanger for energy security and the provision of energy to European markets and beyond, Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said on Monday.

She was speaking following trilateral meetings with her Israeli and Greek counterparts Karine Elharrar and Costas Skrekas in Jerusalem, during which the planned interconnector uniting Israel’s Cyprus’ and Greece’s power grids via a submarine cable featured heavily in the talks.

Elharrar said progress was also made on how to begin to settle the dispute between Cyprus and Israel over the gas deposits in Cyprus’ Aphrodite field since a part of it, known as Yishai, stretches into Israel’s maritime zone.

The working groups will convene on a monthly basis and the two ministers will brief each other regularly in order to find “the best possible resolution for the dispute”.

It was also decided that, as a first step, a general acceptance expert would be appointed, whose work would be determined by the working groups.

Pilides said that the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum and working groups are a great environment to discuss projects such as the EuroAsia interconnector and the EastMed pipeline. The latter, however, has been widely discredited as viable especially by the US.

The Cypriot minister emphasised the importance of strategic partnerships in periods of instability, especially during the present crisis in Ukraine.

“Not only do they come with the benefits of friendship across our region and between our countries, they also provide us with solutions and alternatives we can offer to the world and Europe in the field of energy security, but also in terms of being self-sufficient, ensuring our own security.”

Pilides expressed pride about managing to secure 650 million in EU funding for the EuroAsia interconnector, a project which can “change the rules of the game when it comes to energy security and the provision of energy to European markets and beyond”.

For his part, Greek minister Skrekas said that cooperation between the three states on multilateral energy schemes is extremely significant in the further development of trilateral relations.

“The implementation of these schemes will be to the benefit of our countries, the wider region, and Europe, fortifying energy security,” he said.


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