“If this project is practically feasible, if we can meet the great geological challenges and, at the same time it is financially viable, then there is the political will to implement it,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with Kathimerini when asked to comment on the latest US view that EastMed – the underwater pipeline projected to supply Europe with natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean – is not a viable and effective solution.
He clarified that if the plan is not feasible, he and his associates are ready to consider alternative options, which will not adversely affect anyone’s interests.
How do you respond to reports that the U.S. position on the Eastmed is not a viable and effective solution?
I would not, in any way, like to comment on reports attributed to an informal document. However, in relation to this pipeline project, I can tell you that it is at the preparation stage of the geophysical and feasibility studies. Our position remains firm: If this project is practically feasible, if we can meet the great geological challenges and, and at the same time it is financially viable, then there is the political will to implement it. After all, that is why we signed the relevant transnational agreement, which, by the way, is in itself a text in support of our positions against the Turkish claims in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
"The EU has adopted this project as a 'common interest', and has invested in relevant studies...the EU has only recently recognized gas as a transitional fuel towards the green energy transition."
But if the plan is not feasible?
-If this plan is not feasible, then we are ready to consider other options with our partners. In any case, I do not think that considering other options will adversely affect anyone's interests, as long as the solution that will be chosen respects international law – something that is a given for all involved. This has been our position from the beginning and it remains the same. I would like to add here that the European Union itself has adopted this project as one of 'common interest', and has invested in studies concerning it. At the same time, let me remind you that the EU has only recently recognized natural gas as a transitional fuel towards green energy.
– Do you not think that the US position plays down the role of the tripartite meetings?
-The tripartite meetings were not held in order to build the EastMed pipeline. That is why we have similar meetings with all the countries in the region, including the Arabian Gulf. I have been following various reactions and comments and I would like to point out that this pipeline is only one component of our cooperation with the countries in the region, in this case with Greece and Israel. This cooperation extends to dozens of other sectors – the economy, investment, tourism, green development, defense, security, etc – and, in any case, the course of this project will not change these relations and the scope of the strategic cooperation we have developed.
– You said that the EastMed project is being studied. However, judging by the latest developments, when the Nautical Geo research vessel was stopped by Turkish ships off the coast of Cyprus, one could say that those infamous studies are an evasion.
-Not in any way. The infamous – as you call them – studies are real and certainly not an evasion. The fact that you refer to the Nautical Geo and its activities confirms this. These are studies that, as I said before, are part of the European framework for the implementation of the project that has been described as 'of common interest'.