President Nikos Christodoulides on Thursday discussed ways to exploit the hydrocarbons found within the EEZ with international energy experts, saying that local energy needs are a priority.

During his meeting with top executives of TOTAL energy company, on the second day of his visit to Paris, the Cypriot president received information on the company’s future handling of the licenced plots within the EEZ.

Expressing satisfaction with TOTAL’s interest, Christodoulides said they discussed how to both exploit the deposits to serve the internal market and address the problem of the high prices in electricity and how to exploit the remaining available reserves for the needs of the EU.

To this end, the president Christodoulides said he will seek to have a joint meeting with all the companies involved in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus to see whether there can be synergies, partnerships to achieve this double goal.

“It is something on which we will have to take decisions very soon,” he noted.

The president declared that society’s dissatisfaction on the matter exists “rightly so” and he understands that people have “many questions about the fact that for so many years we have not proceeded with exploitation”.

“We are here precisely to address and answer these legitimate concerns and legitimate questions and I hope that in the very near future we will have data on the basis of which we will be able to talk very specifically to Cypriot society about the next steps in relation to our energy plans.”

He added that the government knows “very well” what they want to do. “We know what our priorities are, first the internal market and by extension through synergies and cooperation in the region to exploit for export to the EU and neighbouring countries in need, and in the immediate future there will be specific announcements.”

The TOTAL delegation consisted of the company’s Senior Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Laurent Vivier, Vice President for North Africa Jean Jaylet and the company’s Senior Director for Cyprus Romain de La Martiniere.

In the afternoon the president will depart for London, where he will attend the coronation of King Charles III.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the president met French President Emmanuel Macron, who expressed the assurance that the Republic could count on the undivided support of France regarding the Cyprob noting the commitment and will of president Christodoulides, in resolving the Cyprus issue.

Christodoulides held a working lunch with Macron, during which ways to further strengthen bilateral relations were discussed, with emphasis on education, defence, economic relations, and energy.

The president also elaborated his French counterpart his proposal for a more active and substantial involvement of the EU in the effort to end the impasse and restart negotiations from where they were interrupted to resolve the Cyprus issue, explaining aspects of his proposal and how the further involvement of the EU can reinforce the efforts of the United Nations.