If efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem continue, then the issue of natural gas will continue as well, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Tuesday while speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee which discussed the EastMed developments, its geopolitical significance and the external dimension of the "EuroAsia Interconnector".
If the Cyprus problem remains unresolved, Kasoulides said, it will entail many unilateral actions on the part of Turkey which will result in more problems.
Of course, he added, Turkey would be eager to have the natural gas pass through Cyprus to Turkey before being disseminated to the EU as it is the cheapest route from Cyprus. "But with Turkey's positions and the toxic climate created, we cannot examine this issue at the moment," he added.
That is why we prefer the Cyprus problem to be resolved and for Turkey to have prospects to benefit from a solution, the Minister added.
Regarding Turkey's participation in the Euro-Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), Kasoulides said that a year and a half ago Turkey was hostile to Egypt and Israel and almost all the members participating in the EMGF. However, things have changed and Turkey does not seem to be interested anymore.
With regards to solar energy and the buffer zone, Kasoulides stated that one of the options is the agreement through the UN to fill most of the buffer zone with photovoltaic units so that Turkish Cypriots can benefit as well as Greek Cypriots, noting that the Turkish Cypriot community suffers frequent electricity outages.
Regarding the agreement between the EU, Egypt and Israel to increase the exports of natural gas to the EU, he said Cyprus is not outside the EU, Egypt and Israel agreement and that it is present through the EU.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results.