Cyprus and Egypt will be ready in the near future to sign an inter-governmental Agreement concerning a direct submarine natural gas pipeline from Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone to an LNG plant in Egypt, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said.
The Minister, visiting Cairo, gave an interview to Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Christodoulides said, "we believe that there is a bright future for the cooperation between Cyprus and Egypt in the field of hydrocarbons as our cooperation is based on solid foundations".
He recalled that Egypt was the first country with which Cyprus concluded an EEZ delimitation agreement (in 2003) and that the energy cooperation between our two countries creates conditions of stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"Cyprus remains committed to continuing this constructive and results-oriented course of action," he added.
Christodoulides said the two countries will soon be ready to sign an agreement for a submarine natural gas pipeline from Cyprus' EEZ to a Liquefied Natural Gas plant in Egypt.
"We believe that there is a bright future for the cooperation between Cyprus and Egypt in the field of hydrocarbons"
"The stakeholders involved are in the process of negotiating the terms of the natural gas sale and the purchase agreements, and hopefully we will soon have positive results."
The two countries are currently discussing the preparation of a visit by President Nicos Anastasiades to Egypt, towards the end of April.
Christodoulides said the partnership between Cyprus and Egypt has gained increased momentum under the leadership of President Anastasiades and President Sisi.
"This close relationship is marked by the exchange of bilateral visits at the highest level, including President Sisi’s visit in November 2017, the first official visit for an Egyptian President to Cyprus since the establishment of our diplomatic relations."
"It is no secret that both Cyprus and Egypt have common challenges to face in a number of issues and these can only be addressed through joint and coordinated actions."
Asked about the tripartite cooperation with Egypt and Greece, he recalled that the trilateral cooperation between them was the first such mechanism of cooperation established in the region in 2014.
"Against the backdrop of significant challenges faced by our region, we are convinced that this mechanism, together with the network of trilateral mechanisms established so far, can contribute to regional peace, security, stability and prosperity."
"We have also stepped up cooperation in the fields of defence, security and countering terrorism. Of course, we stand ready to further, expand, deepen, enrich and, perhaps institutionalize this trilateral partnership."
Asked how Nicosia will deal with possible Turkish drilling in Cyprus waters, he said Turkey has threatened to carry out deep-sea exploration activities in areas that fall within the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
"We are working in order to prevent such activity which will constitute another serious violation of international law, as well as a clear indication of Turkey’s unwillingness to contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus issue."
Christodoulides argued that Turkey’s behaviour clearly threatens the attempts of several countries of the region to create conditions of stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean through cooperation in a number of areas including energy.
"We must not forget that Cyprus’ EEZ is also EU’s EEZ."
Last month Brussels strongly condemned Turkey’s continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and urged Ankara to cease these actions, and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources.
Asked how he views Turkey’s role in Syria, Christodoulides said that it is well known that from the outset of the Syrian crisis, Turkey focused on regime change and in re-establishing its past status and footprint in its neighbouring country.
"The Republic of Cyprus has repeatedly conveyed publicly its strong condemnation of the illegal Turkish invasion in Afrin in north-western Syria, whose only aim was to enforce Ankara’s geopolitical agenda in the region through the use of military force."