President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades underlined the role that Cyprus can play in providing the European Union with energy and the problematic fact that Turkey has not aligned itself with the EU’s sanctions against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, during his remarks in the afternoon session of the first day of the informal European Council summit in Versailles, France.
He also pointed out that plans to strengthen Europe`s defence need to take into account the threats and challenges that Cyprus and Greece face from Turkey.
Anastasiades deplored the unacceptable attitude of Turkey not to align itself with the sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
According to a written statement by government spokesman Marios Pelekanos, President Anastasiades said in his speech that the Republic of Cyprus, "as a country under occupation for almost 48 years that continues to experience the consequences of the Turkish invasion, fully understands what is happening now in Ukraine". He also expressed Cyprus` firm support to the diplomatic efforts to end the war.
Anastasiades also referred to the role that Cyprus can play in providing energy for Europe, "through partnerships with states in our wider region to transfer energy to Europe".
The President particularly stressed the role of natural gas as a transitional energy source and the need to diversify the EU’s energy sources and routes through the implementation of cross-border interconnections.
President Anastasiades provided as possible examples the electrical interconnection of the Eastern Mediterranean region with Europe as planned through the Euroafrica and Euroasia interconnectors, as well as the important prospects for the transfer of green energy, including hydrogen as raw material from the wider Middle East region to Europe.
"The EU`s immediate, united and decisive reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates the Union`s ability to make decisions on such issues, regardless of the cost", President Anastasiades added.
In this context, Anastasiades deplored the unacceptable attitude of Turkey not to align itself with the sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. A stance, he said, “that is not only self-serving but also has a significant impact on the effectiveness of the measures, which aim to exert pressure to end the war".
Referring to the strengthening of the EU`s defence capabilities, the President stressed that the plans should also take into account threats and challenges that the European Union and its Member States face from Turkey. This, he said, was needed "in order to be able to act as a reliable security provider, where necessary, in the wider EU neighbourhood, including the Eastern Mediterranean region".
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.