Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Cyprus. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Cyprus. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 13, 2015

Egypt 'doesn't mind' Israeli gas

A week after Reuters broke the news of talks between the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and the American Noble Energy Company, which operates Israeli gas fields, the Ministry of Petroleum appears to publicly support a new policy that would allow the importation of Israeli gas.

In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Despite full diplomatic relations, official niceties and, many years later, US-encouraged commercial and business agreements between the two former enemies, normalisation with Israel remained taboo and was rejected by the wider public.
So when former president Hosni Mubarak approved a 20-year agreement to export Egyptian gas to Israel in 2005 it caused a political uproar that continued until his ouster in February 2011.

Not only was Egypt pumping natural gas directly to Israel, it was doing so at below-market prices through East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), then co-owned by Mubarak 's friend Hussein Salem and former Israeli Mossad agent Yossi Maiman, who then sold the gas to Israel at higher rates, pocketing the difference.

In the aftermath of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in 2011, Egypt unilaterally terminated this agreement, citing failures by the Israeli side to meet payment deadlines in violation of the contract.

The decision was met with relief and a sense of revolutionary achievement, but things did not end there. When Mubarak was referred for trial in 2011, the gas deal was added to the corruption charges (a Cairo court dismissed the charges three months ago because the charges were too old to fall within its jurisdiction.)

More than four years later, Egyptian officials are negotiating a reversal of the gas deal through the very same pipeline that exported the gas to Israel, according to Reuters and official statements attributed to top-level officials in the ministry of petroleum......................http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/122969.aspx

Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 02, 2015

Egypt advances plans to import Israeli gas

CAIRO - A delegation from American oil firm Noble Energy is in Egypt for talks with the state gas company about importing Israeli gas to energy-starved Egypt, sources at the airport and the oil ministry said on Sunday.

Gas shipments could come from Israel's offshore Tamar gas field, which Noble operates, and whose partners have floated plans to connect the field with Egypt's Damietta LNG plant.

Israel's Delek Drilling, one of the partners in the field, said in November that if an agreement is signed, gas supplies to Egypt could start flowing in 2017.

Egypt has signed several deals in past months to import natural gas, which powers most of its homes and factories, but imports from Israel are potentially more sensitive because of the countries' rocky history.

The oil ministry source said Sunday's talks concerned the technical procedures for bringing natural gas from Israeli fields into Egypt.

"Negotiations are under way about the amount of gas that can be imported," the source said.

Another source at Cairo's airport earlier in the day said that a delegation came for several hours from Israel to discuss gas shipments.

Egypt's oil minister said two weeks ago that the country was open to Israeli imports.

Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, following three decades of intermittent conflict since Israel's creation in 1948.

While many Egyptians still view Israel with suspicion, relations have improved since the army toppled President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The two countries also have a shared interest in containing Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and maintaining stability in the Sinai Peninsula where security has deteriorated since Morsi's ouster.

  • Egypt, which once exported gas to Israel and elsewhere, is going through its worst energy crisis in decades, with rising consumption and declining production turning it into an energy importer.
  • The government has tried to improve the energy landscape by slashing subsidies, paying down its debt to foreign energy firms, and negotiating import agreements.

After finalizing a long-delayed deal for an LNG import terminal, it has reached agreements to receive gas from Algeria, and is in talks with Russia and Cyprus for gas shipments. 


Παρασκευή, Ιανουαρίου 02, 2015

Cypriot EEZ: Cyprus warns Turkey against any new energy moves

Cyprus warned Turkey Friday that if it re-entered the exclusive economic zone where Nicosia has licensed exploratory drilling there would be no chance of resuming stalled UN-brokered peace talks.
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said any such a move would be a "worrying development" and would only "validate the reason for not returning to the talks".

Last October, a Turkish ship encroached on Cyprus's EEZ off its south coast, after Ankara had given notice that a Turkish seismic vessel would carry out a survey in the same area where Italian-Korean energy consortium ENI-Kogas is operating.

In response, Cyprus suspended its participation in UN-led peace talks launched in February.

Warning against another incident, Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency on Friday: "While knowing such an action would not allow for talks to resume, it will unfortunately send the international community a negative message regarding the possibility of a resumption of talks."

Turkish Cypriot media reports say that Turkey is ready to issue a new maritime notice for its survey ship Barbaros from January 5.

Nicosia is unhappy that Ankara is determined to search for oil and gas in the same region where it has already licensed exploratory drillings.

Turkey opposes the government's exploitation of offshore energy reserves before a deal is reached to solve the decades-long division of the east Mediterranean island.

Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of Cyprus in 1974 in response to an Athens-engineered coup aimed at uniting it with Greece.

ENI-Kogas began drilling off Cyprus for possible gas in September in a second block to undergo exploratory tests.

It found no evidence of gas reserves in its first test drill and is preparing to try again over the next three months.

In 2011, US firm Noble Energy made the first find in the Aphrodite field, which is estimated to contain 102 billion to 170 billion cubic metres (3.6 trillion to six trillion cubic feet) of gas.
  AFP - http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/119338.aspx


Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 20, 2014

Déclaration du vice-Premier ministre et ministre des Affaires étrangères suite à la présence du navire de recherche turc Barbaros dans la ZEE chypriote

MAE Hellénique,  lundi, 20 octobre 2014:

«Malheureusement, la Turquie n’a pas entendu la voix de la communauté internationale, elle n’a pas entendu la voix de l’ONU et de l’Union européenne, elle n’a pas entendu la voix de la légalité internationale.

Son navire, le Barbaros, se trouve dans la zone économique exclusive et le plateau continental chypriote et tentera d’effectuer des recherches qui manifestement constituent une violation flagrante du droit international de la mer, car dans cette région la délimitation du plateau continental et de la zone économique exclusive de la République de Chypre n’est pas contestée.

La Turquie n’a aucune revendication là-bas. La Turquie semble agir là-bas au nom du pseudo-Etat chypriote turc. Donc, le cœur de l’affaire est le refus de la Turquie de reconnaître l’existence et la personnalité juridique internationale de la République de Chypre. La République de Chypre, toutefois, est un Etat membre de l’ONU, de l’Union européenne et de la zone euro. Un Etat reconnu au niveau international par tous les Etats membres de l’ONU, à l’exception de la Turquie.

Si la Turquie ne comprend pas que la République de Chypre existe, elle pose elle-même des obstacles insurmontable à son parcours et perspective européens. Si la Turquie ne comprend pas que la République de Chypre existe, alors il n’y a pas de cadre pour les négociations sur l’avenir de la République de Chypre et la coexistence des deux communautés.

La Turquie sape le dialogue à Chypre et créé un foyer de crise, à l’heure où l’attention de la communauté internationale est tournée – et elle doit l’être – vers Kobani, l’EI, la lutte contre le terrorisme international et les crises auxquelles l’Europe est confrontée dans son voisinage sud et oriental. Malheureusement, le front se scinde et la responsabilité de la Turquie est énorme.

C’est pourquoi nous l’invitons à virer de bord, à changer sa politique étrangère, à respecter la légalité internationale, à soutenir les négociations à Chypre, à respecter la légalité qui est le cadre sûr tant de nos relations bilatérales, que de son parcours européen».


Israel's Tamar gas field to sell gas to Egypt

The partners in Israel's Tamar gas field announced on Sunday they have signed a bid to sell at least five billion cubic meters of natural gas over three years to private consumers in Egypt.

The Tamar partners, led by Texas-based Noble Energy and the Israeli Delek Group, said in a statement that they have signed a letter of intent with Dolphinus Holdings, a consortium of industrial and commercial gas consumers and distributors in Egypt.

The partners said the gas will be sold based on Brent crude oil prices, with estimated revenue of about 700 million US dollars per year.

The gas would be transferred via an old pipeline in Sinai peninsula that was built nearly a decade ago to carry gas from Egypt to Israel. However, gas flow ceased in 2012 given the ousting of the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and repeated sabotages by Sinai militants.

  • Earlier on May 5, the Tamar partners planned to transfer one- fifth of their gas in 15 years to Egypt for liquefaction and then exporting abroad.

A few weeks later, the partners in the Leviathan gas field, a consortium also led by Noble Energy and Delek Group, signed a letter of intent to sell seven billion cubic meters to British Gas in Egypt.

Discovered in 2009 off Israel's northern city of Haifa, the Tamar field is believed to contain about 223 billion cubic meters of gas. Production there began in March 2013.

In February, Israel became a gas exporter for the first time when Tamar's partners signed a deal to supply 500 million US dollars worth of gas to two Jordanian companies.

Source:Xinhua -  globaltimes.cn

Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 13, 2014

Statements of Deputy PM and FM Venizelos and the FM of the Republic of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides, following their meeting (Athens, 13 October 2014)

Hellenic MFA, Monday, 13 October 2014:

E. VENIZELOS: It is a great pleasure to welcome to Athens, to the Foreign Ministry, my dear old friend and colleague Ioannis Kasoulides, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus.

With Mr. Kasoulides we had the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting, followed by a meeting of the delegations under our direction. Thus, in two different phases we discussed in detailed depth the situation that has taken shape in Cyprus following the Turkish initiative, in violation of international law, of the declaration, through a NAVTEX, of the carrying out of exploration in maritime zones of the Republic of Cyprus, in a region in which the Republic of Cyprus exercises its national sovereign rights; that is, in a region of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

In such a fraught international state of affairs, when global public opinion and the international community have focused their attention on barbaric conduct, when public opinion is anxiously following the developments in Kobani, on the border of Syria and Turkey.

At a time when we have an unprecedented confluence of crises in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood, the situation should in no way be further burdened with actions that violate international law and undermine the course of the talks on a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.

The opposite should be the case: We are all under obligation to help these talks within the framework we have said, which is the framework that has been formulated by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the High-Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, the Joint Communiqué of 11 February 2014, and, naturally, the European community acquis.

But instead, we unfortunately see conduct that is moving in exactly the opposite direction.

Mr. Kasoulides briefed us on the initiatives the Republic of Cyprus has undertaken, but, as you know, the Greek government has also taken a number of initiatives, diplomatic contacts, demarches, and we have made a relevant demarche to the Turkish side. The recent developments on this issue are the meetings I had the opportunity to have yesterday, in Cairo, on the margins of the International Conference on Palestine and, more specifically, the reconstruction of Gaza. I had the opportunity to brief many of my colleagues and other international officials on this matter. I had the opportunity to talk with the UN Secretary General, the U.S. Secretary of State, and with other Ministers.

There is no question that the core of the problem we are facing is, unfortunately, always the same. It is Turkey’s refusal to recognize the Republic of Cyprus. To accept the simple and obvious truth that the Republic of Cyprus is a member state of the UN, a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. A sovereign state that exercises not only sovereign rights over its territory, but also the national sovereign rights recognized in accordance with international law and, more specifically, in accordance with the International Law of the Sea.

A number of problems can be traced back to this source. The refusal to implement the Ankara Protocol and all of the complications that arise in the relations between Turkey and the European Union, and, allow me to say, the European Union and NATO, at a time when and in a region where there should be full coordination and harmonization between the two organizations.

We also agreed with Mr. Kasoulides to proceed to a number of actions that are self-evident between the two neighbouring and brother states that are actors in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean and that are member states of the European Union.

The first move was the one that was carried out a few minutes ago, before us. The signing by the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Cyprus of the inter-state agreement on Search and Rescue for maritime accidents in the region linking the two states.

Within the framework of the relevant Hamburg Convention, we were under obligation to delimit the search and rescue regions, using as the criterion the maritime space that corresponds to the Athens and Nicosia FIRs.

Thus, in reality, the two FIRs are being joined, along with the maritime spaces that correspond to them. This is a move of very great importance for Search and Rescue issues, of course, in accordance with international law, in accordance with international practice and European practice, along the lines of corresponding bilateral contracts Greece has signed for many years now with Italy, with Malta. But you can see the great importance of the fact that this is happening now between Greece and Cyprus.

It is a show of full respect for international law, as well as full capitalization on the mechanisms provided for by international law and, more specifically, the Hamburg Convention, in combination with the Chicago Convention on search and rescue. The one convention covers maritime accidents, and the other airline accidents, and for the second one, in any case, there have long been detailed arrangements.

We also decided, within the framework of the initiatives developed by the two Presidencies of the Council of the EU – the Cypriot Presidency and, more recently, the Hellenic Presidency in the first half of this year – to put particular emphasis on our collaboration on maritime policy issues. Maritime policy is a European priority, it is a priority particularly in the Mediterranean European countries, it is a priority for Greece and for Cyprus, as is cooperation in the energy sector, especially now that the Ukraine crisis has shown that it is of very great importance to constantly work for diversification of the supply sources and transit routes of natural gas and oil.

So we decided to organize an institutionally structured, permanent cooperation between the two countries in the sectors of energy and maritime policy.

Another issue we looked at following the meeting we had in New York, with our Egyptian colleague, and following everything I had the opportunity to talk about with my Egyptian colleague yesterday, in Cairo, on the margins of the International Conference, is the progress of the Egypt-Cyprus-Greece trilateral cooperation configuration.

Now, in a few days, in Nicosia, we will have the 3rd Trilateral Ministerial Meeting, on the level of Foreign Ministers. But this time, within the framework of the joint communiqué of New York, which you are aware of, we will decide to carry out, at the soonest possible time, in all probability on 9 November, in Cairo, the 1st Trilateral Summit Meeting, with the participation of the President of Egypt, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, and Greece’s Prime Minister.

We three Ministers will prepare this meeting, which, as you can see, is of very great importance, not as a hostile move towards anyone else, and particularly towards countries of the region, but as a move of substantial deepening of our cooperation, because Egypt plays a pivotal role in all the major crises, its role in the Gaza ceasefire, as well as in the reopening of the of the Middle East peace talks.

It is also of very great importance that the joint basis of this cooperation is respect for international law, and particularly respect for international law in the critical region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

With Mr. Kasoulides – with whom I am linked by a very close friendship of over 25 years, because we started out together as government spokespersons many years ago, and we continue now, always with the same mutual understanding, camaraderie and love and mutual appreciation – we had the opportunity to carry out a broader review of the issues of common interest, not just related to the Cyprus issue, not just concerning Greek-Turkish relations, but also concerning the course of the European Union, regarding the major concerns of European policy, which have to do with foreign and security policy, as well as with economic issues.

Because the economy, too, as a parameter of national power, is always very important for everything we do in the field of foreign policy and security and defence policy.

With these thoughts, Mr. Minister and dear friend, I welcome you to Greece, to Athens, and ask you to take the floor.

I. KASOULIDES: Ladies and gentlemen, I warmly thank my true friend, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, because truly, as he has already said, our meeting here was imperative and proved productive, and I can return to Cyprus with the sense that Greece will stand by Cyprus in this ordeal as well, with all of the abilities at its disposal.

Truly, Turkey’s decision to dispute the Cypriot EEZ and the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore for and subsequently exploit the natural gas has consequences. The first consequence, as you can surely see, is the fact that in a bi-communal dialogue, which, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council, is being carried out on equal terms, the “equal footing” has been grossly compromised, because this dialogue cannot be carried out under conditions of threats, intimidation and show of force.

And, in fact, this is happening at the time when the UN Secretary General’s new special adviser, Mr. Eide, is scheduling his entry into these talks at a stage that would have been the time for both sides to show that they really mean to and want to move ahead with these talks substantially, without evasions and without procedural obstacles.

Unfortunately, this is being rendered doubtful by the Turkish move, because the critical months are the coming months, followed by the elections of the illegal and legal organs of the Turkish side, but it leads to the next consequence.

Because a very serious question is raised: Was this move made at this particular moment in time because Turkey is not interested in a solution, but is also likely relegating the efforts towards a solution to a back burner and focusing instead on these moves of intimidation.

And this raised the question: Why this move at this particular time? Is it perhaps because it has a certain kind of protection, because everyone wants to see Turkey join the coalition against the terrorist organization ISIS?

And, in fact, if we bear in mind what it is asking for in exchange, which I am not sure will be accepted by the Arab world, and knowing that whatever Turkey thinks, it will be difficult to get out – examples are well known – we feel that the international community has not, to date, shown the strictness it should with regard to Turkey. I know, however, that efforts are being made behind the scenes, and I hope that these behind-the-scenes efforts and the diplomatic exertions will have a positive outcome. We shall see.

For the rest, I subscribe to everything Mr. Venizelos has said regarding the great importance for Cyprus and for Hellenism of the signing of the Agreement that just took place, the dialogue, as structured dialogue between Greece and Cyprus on issues of energy and maritime policy, and they are timely issues, while in tandem we are also looking at other ways of reacting that, however, might also correspond to the escalation of provocations from the other side.

Thank you.

JOURNALIST: My question is for both Foreign Ministers. Are you concerned at the fact that the presence of Turkish naval vessels in the Cypriot EEZ might discourage companies that are interested in carrying out exploration and drilling in the region? And what do you intend to do to avert this eventuality? That is the first question. And a question for Mr. Venizelos: At what stage are the EEZ talks with Egypt? Thank you very much.

I. KASOULIDES: First of all, I can give full assurances that the Italian company ENI, in accordance with its contractual obligations to the Republic of Cyprus, will move ahead smoothly with the schedule of drilling that it has announced. And there will be no backing down from this on its part. That is what we have before us currently. Right now, there is no tender for granting other maritime fields to other companies, so that your question might be answered.

E. VENIZELOS: And I would like to add, regarding Egypt, that, apart from the trilateral cooperation, the Greek-Egyptian bilateral cooperation is also continuing at an intensive pace, and we agreed in New York to hold – as soon as possible, here in Athens this time – the meeting of technical committees dealing with matters of delimitation of maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean. And we have no pending matter whatsoever with Egypt on the bilateral level from this point of view. But we are interested in full respect for and full implementation of the International Law of the Sea in our region, which is a common region.

JOURNALIST: I wanted to ask whether you are planning joint initiatives with Israel, in response to the Turkish provocations.

I. KASOULIDES: With Israel we have a special cooperation based on a specific programme. They aren’t carried out because there are or aren’t Turkish provocations. This programming and cooperation will proceed smoothly.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Kasoulides, as you talked about intimidation from the Turkish side, I want to ask under what conditions Nicosia will return to the talks, the meeting between the leaders of the two communities will take place. In other works, what move on the part of Ankara would allow the Cypriot side to change its decision?

I. KASOULIDES: As I said, a negotiation cannot currently be held on an equal footing, as are the terms of the Secretary General’s mandate from the Security Council, and this dialogue will continue when the threats, show of force and intimidation stop.

E. VENIZELOS: Allow me to add something at this point: that it is worth studying the announcements that have been issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Greek Foreign Ministry and, naturally, the Cypriot Foreign Ministry regarding this issue. The Turkish side is accusing the Republic of Cyprus, which it perceives as the Greek Cypriot community, of exercising the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in maritime zones.

And it is leveling allegations at Greece for not participating more actively in the talks. The truth is that the problem here is with the Turkish stance, which does not recognize the existence of the Republic of Cyprus, does not see that the Republic of Cyprus, as a sovereign member state of the UN and the EU, with sovereignty and sovereign rights, is one thing, and that the two communities, which are discussing the future solution of the Cyprus issue, are another. And the obvious also has to be realized: That progress on the Cyprus issue hinges on its, on Turkey’s, stance, because the Cyprus issue is a problem of illegal invasion, occupation and illegal settlement.

Greece does not have such responsibilities or such a role. Greece respects the Republic of Cyprus and the internal democratic processes on the Greek Cypriot side. The problems are on the side of the pseudo-state, on the side of the Turkish Cypriot community, and on the Turkish side.

I. KASOULIDES: I would like to add something, if I may. Turkey is the only member state of the United Nations that does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus as the legal government of Cyprus, on the one hand, and that recognizes the illegally declared pseudo-state. There are laws and justice in the international community. The law of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and Turkey is the only country that circumvents and tries to ignore all of this. Turkey has to see that it cannot impose international laws and rules on its own to impose them by force of guns where it is in its interest to do so. This is an irrational rationale.

JOURNALIST: I start from the complaint of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Kasoulides, regarding the sluggish reaction, so far, of the international community to the Turkish provocations.

And I ask, first of all, you, Mr. Foreign Minister of Greece, in the meetings you said you had in Egypt, in Cairo, yesterday, where you raised this issue with Mr. Kerry and Mr. Ki-moon, did they react? Did they comment, or did they just passively accept what you said? And by extension, in the expanded talks you had a short while ago, here in Athens, you agreed, if I am not mistaken, to approach the organs of the European Union at the highest level, so as to involve the European Union, as well, in the process of the talks, if only as an observer exerting certain pressures.

Apart from a reaction from Mr. Van Rompuy the day before yesterday, if I am not mistaken, I don’t remember, to date, a high-level reaction from the European Union, again on the issue of the Turkish operations in Cyprus.

I. KASOULIDES: I will respond to the second question by saying that Mr. Rompuy, I remind you, is the President of the Council of the European Union. That is, the President of an organ in which the 28 member states participate, and he has made very satisfactory statements that I think render superfluous the statements of some outgoing Commissioners who, despite everything that has happened, have set as their goal how to move Turkey’s EU accession course ahead. And that is also why we do not bear in mind what has happened elsewhere.

E. VENIZELOS: The reactions of the international community must always move within the framework of international law and the special role of each international organ or other international entity. From this perspective, the UN Secretary General’s position is very clear. The UN Secretary General is the guardian of international legality, and, in particular with regard to the Cyprus issue, he wants to see the completion and success of the talks being carried out under his auspices, with the active participation of his Special Adviser.

The European Union’s reaction is the one Mr. Kasoulides described. We have the statement from the President of the European Council, and the issue can obviously be brought up for discussion at any time before the Council of Foreign Ministers and on the level of the European Council.

Mr. Kerry obviously referred to the statements that have been made by the State Department spokesperson, and he is interested, as he has stressed repeatedly, in there being a positive development on the Cyprus issue, and he is obviously mainly interested in a rift not being created in the united front that exists with regard to confronting the major problems of the wider region: the need for the Middle East peace talks to start up again, for the ISIS phenomenon to be confronted, for new fronts not to open up.

From this point of view, the international community, regardless of what is being said, and how, must do, knows what it wants to do, and in the end I am sure that it will make substantial efforts to avert the creation of some new problem regarding the Cyprus issue; to keep the Turkish NAVTEX from continuing to burden the situation.

Now, beyond that, the enlargement process, and, in this context, Turkey’s European course, is always an intergovernmental process. The organ that controls this process is the General Affairs Council and the European Council. This is of very great significance. Turkey knows that it is not facilitating its European course and perspective through such moves.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Minister, you both described the situation prevailing in Cyprus following provocative actions and moves on the part of Turkey, and, naturally, your concern is quite clear. Can you send a message today from Athens and Nicosia to Ankara?

I. KASOULIDES: Everything you have heard today is a message to Ankara, certainly; our reaction and our statements and actions that have been or will be made.

E. VENIZELOS: Needless to say, beyond the public statements there are the diplomatic and political initiatives. Greece is talking to the Turkish government on all levels, and on all levels we have stated the positions we need to state to the Turkish side, and we are awaiting a response.

JOURNALIST: Basically, two very brief questions, based on two things that each of you said. For Mr. Venizelos, you said that some move may follow, possibly on the level of the European Council. Did you discuss any such moves? Could you perhaps tell us a little more on that? And for Mr. Kasoulides. You referred to the quid pro quos Turkey is pursuing within the framework of the talks on strengthening the front against ISIS. Are you afraid that more favorable treatment in the context of the Cyprus issue might be among the inducements it is seeking? Thank you.

E. VENIZELOS: Regarding the procedures of the Council of Ministers and the European Council, things are very clear. Next Monday, on 21 October, there is a scheduled Foreign Affairs Council. The main subject is the ongoing crisis in the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhoods of the European Union. When we talk about the Southern Neighbourhood, about the situation that exists with regard to the Middle East, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, won’t we talk about the situation in Cyprus? Cyprus is the European Union’s and the West’s most forward outpost in the region. Moreover, in December the General Affairs Council always discusses the Commission report and formulates its own intergovernmental conclusions regarding the accession perspectives of the candidate states. Won’t we do that this coming December? Obviously, we will.

I. KASOULIDES: And depending on developments, it is President Anastasiades’ intention – and he has already sent a relevant request to president Van Rompuy – for the issue to be added to the upcoming European Council for discussion. 

  • You asked about ISIS. I know that countries – many, many countries – are well aware of the truth of Turkey’s role in backing and creating this monstrous organization. Because it is well known that it backed it economically and through the provision of arms, beyond the fact that they looked the other way on the porous border between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, over which all these aspiring terrorists passed with passports from EU member states and even from the United States.

  • This is what has been said. Everyone says it – even the U.S. Vice President himself, at Harvard, did nothing but tell the truth, and I think everyone knows it. I think that the time has passed when one could, for any expediency, grant inducements for anyone without our consent, and all the more so when we are well aware of the moral backdrop and share of responsibility Turkey has for the whole situation that has taken shape in the Iraqi and Syrian space.

E. VENIZELOS: I would like to take the opportunity to make a comment that also concerns Greece’s domestic political life. I hope now after a few days that it will become clear how correct and critical the Greek government’s decision was for Greece to participate in the international coalition against ISIS. The Republic of Cyprus did the same. And, moreover, how important it is for Greece, as it is for Cyprus, to participate in the sending of munitions to the Kurdish forces, always through legal processes, so that the ISIS phenomenon can be confronted.

You can see that we need to send very clear messages if we want to participate in the international configurations and if we don’t want the regional and international crises to have a detrimental effect on our national issues, such as the Cyprus issue, such as Greek-Turkish relations and the more general situation in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. I say this because there are those who were against Greece’s participation in the coalition and our sending munitions, and they are now protesting because we have not taken more intensive and practical initiatives aimed at saving Kobani from the ISIS attack. That is, there is unfortunately often no logic and no coherence in what we hear.

I. KASOULIDES: Let me add how important Cyprus is in the struggle of the coalition against ISIS, as the Republic of Cyprus supports Britain’s efforts through the British bases at Akrotiri and through the provision of facilitations to the French air force for the same purpose.

JOURNALIST: You state that the wealth of natural resources belongs to both Communities. What is your plan in case there is no immediate resolution of the Cyprus issue? Thank you.

I. KASOULIDES: We have said repeatedly, and I take the opportunity of your question to repeat it today, that the natural wealth, including hydrocarbons, belongs to all Cypriots and will be allocated correspondingly when the Cyprus problem is resolved. Revenue from the natural gas is not foreseen before the end of the decade. What is the point of these Turkish threats at the present time? Who is it that does not believe that the Cyprus problem will have been resolved by then or will not have been resolved by then? Does Turkey have so much faith in the dialogue for the resolution of the Cyprus issue, when it wants things to be resolved as of now, when the revenues are not expected to come in until the end of the decade?

E. VENIZELOS: Thank you very much.


Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 09, 2014

Greek FM Accuses Turkey of Cyprus Negotiations Breakdown. Research ships escorted by two warships are beginning the exploration of mineral resources in the EEZ of Cyprus

Greece has accused Turkey of escalating tensions around Cyprus and undermining negotiations on settlement of the Cyprus issue, the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a Thursday statement.

"Unfortunately, at the center ... is Turkey’s refusal to see that the Republic of Cyprus is an independent and sovereign state, a member of the UN and the European Union, that exercises sovereignty and sovereign rights, in accordance with international law.

The exercising of these rights includes the maritime zones  provided for by the Law of the Sea; more specifically, the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Continental Shelf," the statement said.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades broke off talks on the Cyprus settlement due to the fact that Turkish research ships escorted by two warships are beginning the exploration of mineral resources in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, where an Italian and a South Korean company are already working in agreement with the Government of Cyprus. Anastasiades called Ankara's actions a flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of Cyprus.

  • As stated in the document, Turkey's actions threaten these sovereign rights.
The Greek Foreign Ministry denied Turkish accusations that Greece is not contributing to the Cyprus settlement. 

"Greece does not stand accused internationally of military invasion and illegal occupation and settlement, and respects the institutions and processes of the Republic of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot Community, which is expressed democratically through its leadership"….....................………EL ETHNOS….......….....…….EL AN

Τρίτη, Μαΐου 27, 2014

Water quality excellent at most of Europe’s bathing sites

European Commission, Press release, Brussels, 27 May 2014:

The water at Europe’s beaches, rivers and lakes was generally of high quality in 2013, with more than 95 % of these sites meeting minimum requirements. Coastal performed slightly better than inland bathing waters, the data shows.

All the bathing sites in Cyprus and Luxembourg were deemed ‘excellent’. These countries were followed by Malta (99 % excellent), Croatia (95 %) and Greece (93 %). At the other end of the scale, European Union Member States with the highest proportion of sites with a ‘poor’ status were Estonia (6 %), the Netherlands (5 %), Belgium (4 %), France (3 %), Spain (3 %) and Ireland (3 %).

The annual bathing water quality report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) tracks the water quality at 22 000 bathing sites across the EU, Switzerland and, for the first time, Albania. Alongside the report, the EEA has published an interactive map showing how each bathing site performed in 2013.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "It's good that the quality of European bathing waters continues to be of a high standard. But we cannot afford to be complacent with such a precious resource as water. We must continue to ensure that our bathing and drinking water as well as our aquatic ecosystems are fully protected." 

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said: “Europe’s bathing water has improved over the last two decades – we are no longer discharging such high quantities of sewage directly into water bodies. Today’s challenge comes from short-term pollution loads during heavy rain and flooding. This can overflow sewage systems and wash faecal bacteria from farmland into the rivers and seas.”
Local authorities monitor the samples at local beaches, collecting samples in the spring and throughout the bathing season. Bathing waters are can be rated ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘sufficient’ or ‘poor’. The ratings are based on levels of two types of bacteria which indicate pollution from sewage or livestock. These bacteria can cause illness (vomiting and diarrhoea) if swallowed.
Bathing water ratings do not consider litter, pollution and other aspects harming the natural environment. While most bathing sites are clean enough to protect human health, many of the ecosystems in Europe’s water bodies are in a worrying state. This is evident in Europe’s seas – a recent assessment found that Europe’s marine ecosystems are threatened by climate change, pollution, overfishing and acidification. Many of these pressures are set to increase.
Bathing water: key findings
  • While more than 95 % of bathing sites met the minimum requirements, 83 % met the more stringent ‘excellent’ level. Just 2 % were poor.
  • The proportion of sites passing the minimum requirements in 2013 was roughly the same as 2012. However, the proportion of ‘excellent’ sites increased from 79 % in 2012 to 83 % in 2013.
  • At coastal beaches, water quality was slightly better, with 85 % of sites classified as excellent. All coastal beaches in Slovenia and Cyprus were classified as excellent.
  • Inland, bathing water quality seems to have been slightly lower than the average. Luxembourg was the only country to receive ‘excellent’ for all its inland bathing sites, with Denmark close behind with 94 % excellent. Germany achieved excellent quality at 92 % of almost 2 000 inland bathing sites.

Κυριακή, Μαΐου 18, 2014

Cyprus’ energy hopes rise as Ukraine crisis deepens

As the crisis in Ukraine deepens, Cyprus seems to be seen as a key player in EU rush for alternative gas supplies. 

Policy makers have even gone as far as to hope that new gas routes could help end decades of division on Cyprus. 

And the timing of US vice president Joe Biden’s visit next week in the island is no coincidence. It is worth reminding that it will be the first visit by a US president or a vice president in 52 years.

The risk of investing in energy infrastructure in Cyprus seems to have been reduced as the crisis in the Ukraine unfolds, with the EU looking towards solutions that may cost more, but which will ensure its energy security, an EU informal meeting in Athens has heard.


Τρίτη, Μαρτίου 25, 2014

At least 10 firms bid for Israel-Turkey gas pipeline. -Report, Israeli daily

At least 10 companies, including two Turkish energy firms, have presented offers in the tender for the exporting of natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan gas field to Turkey through a pipeline, an Israeli daily reported.

Bidders include Turkey’s Zorlu Group, which already holds an indirect stake in an Israeli power plant, and a joint bid by Turcas Petrol and German electricity utility RWE,  according to Israeli daily Globes.

The daily cited unnamed sources as saying the bids for the natural gas ranged between 7 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year and 10 bcm, “amounts that could generate $22-31 billion revenue, assuming a 15-year gas supply contract at $6 per million British Thermal Units [mmBTU], the price of natural gas in Israel’s domestic market.”

Leviathan is estimated to hold some 540 billion cubic meters of gas, enough to supply Europe for a year. The field is being developed by U.S.-based Noble Energy, which is the project’s lead partner with a 30 percent stake, while the other groups involved are Israel’s Delek Group, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration and Australian Woodside, who joined the field by acquiring 25-percent stake in February.

  • In September, Turcas Board Member Mathew Bryza had announced the company had submitted a $2.5-billion offer to build a pipeline under the sea from Israel to Turkey’s southern province of Mersin.

Globes said the deal would include laying a pipeline between Turkey and Leviathan’s proposed floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) ship, which deliver gas to Israeli and regional customers.

“The price in the bids is the purchase price of the gas from the FPSO. In addition to this price, the bids will be evaluated on the basis of their commercial terms, including the take or pay condition and the capacity of the gas purchased,” the daily reported.

The relations between the two countries, which have been scarred since May 2010 when Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists while storming a ship in a convoy seeking to break an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza, have started to pick up pieces since Israel apologized for the incident a year ago, raising hopes for new energy alliances. 


Δευτέρα, Μαρτίου 17, 2014

US Navy SEALs take control of oil tanker hijacked in Libya: Pentagon

U.S. Navy SEALs boarded and took control of an oil tanker that had was seized earlier this month at a Libyan port by three armed men, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

No one was hurt in the boarding operation conducted late on March 16, approved by U.S. President Barack Obama, requested by the Libyan and Cypriot governments and conducted in international waters southeast of Cyprus, said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.

"The Morning Glory is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company. The ship and its cargo were illicitly obtained from the Libyan port of As-Sidra," his statement said. 

The ship, which departed from the eastern Libyan port of Al-Sidra - controlled by rebels seeking autonomy from the authorities in Tripoli - is reported to have loaded at least 234,000 barrels of crude.

Pyongyang last week however denied any responsibility for the tanker. The ship was operated by an Egypt-based company that was allowed to temporarily use the North Korean flag under a contract with Pyongyang, North Korean state news agency KCNA said March 12.

Pyongyang had "cancelled and deleted" the ship's North Korean registry, as it violated its law "on the registry of ships and the contract that prohibited it from transporting contraband cargo."


Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 07, 2014

First chemical materials removed from Syria by ship

DAMASCUS: A first shipment of material has been removed from Syria under a deal to rid the country of its chemical weapons arsenal, the joint mission overseeing the disarmament said Tuesday.

"A first quantity of priority chemical materials was moved from two sites to the port of Latakia for verification and was then loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel today," the mission said in a statement.

It added that the boat had sailed for international waters.

"This movement initiates the process of transfer of chemical materials from the Syrian Arab Republic to locations outside its territory for destruction," the statement said.

Maritime security is being provided by naval escorts from China, Denmark, Norway and Russia, it added.

The removal had been scheduled to take place before December 31, but Syria's worsening civil war, logistical problems and bad weather had delayed the operation.

The year-end deadline for the removal of key weapons components was the first major milestone under a UN Security Council-backed deal arranged by Russia and the United States that aims to eliminate all of Syria's chemical arms by the middle of this year.

Under the plan, the chemicals will be taken from Latakia to a port in Italy where they will be transferred to a US Navy vessel fitted with equipment to destroy them at sea.

- AFP/xq



Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 04, 2014

Danish, Norwegian ships leave Limassol port for Syrian seacoast

BEIRUT, January 03, /ITAR-TASS/. Two Danish and two Norwegian ships have left the Port of Limassol and made the way towards international waters near the Syrian seacoast.

Two dry-cargo ships and two coastguard vessels will be in international waters to enter the Syrian port of Latakia at any moment in order to load containers with chemical weapons, Norwegian Defence Ministry spokesman Lars Magne Hovtun said on Friday.
Russian and Chinese military ships - the Pyotr Veliky heavy nuclear missile cruiser and China’s Yan Cheng will ensure security while containers are transported to one of the Italian ports where they will be reloaded to the U.S. Cape Ray for further elimination.

Head of the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission Sigrid Kaag said a certain delay did not prevent the international community from conducting the operation.

Chemical weapons should be withdrawn from Syria till February 5, 2014. The most dangerous agents will be eliminated outside Syria not later than March 31, 2014. The others will be eliminated by June 30, 2014.

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 02, 2014

Turkish energy minister: Cyprus oil belongs to Cyprus

Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz has said that any profits gained from oil and natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean should belong to people the people of Cyprus.

Comparing the island to Iraq, Yildiz told a press conference ‘the same way we say oil extracted from Iraq belongs to Iraq, we say that any oil or natural gas extracted anywhere around Cyprus belongs to Cyprus.’

These comments come as disputes between Turkey and  Cyprus continue to boil over.

The Greek Cypriot government has been involved in joint oil and natural gas explorations with Israel, as well as discussing deals with Egypt, which Turkey opposes due to the unresolved Cyprus problem.

Turkey therefore sent a ship to search for oil in the Mediterranean Sea between the TRNC and Turkey, much to the anger of the Greek Cypriots.


  • ΤΑΝΕΡ ΓΙΛΝΤΙΖ: Δεν θα κάνουμε έρευνες σε αμφισβητούμενες περιοχές...

Το 2014 το ερευνητικό τουρκικό πλοίο Μπάρμπαρόσσα δεν θα κάνει έρευνες σε περιοχές αμφισβητούμενες, δήλωσε ο Τούρκος Υπουργός Ενέργειας Τανέρ Γιλντίζ αναφερόμενος στις έρευνες για φυσικό αέριο και πετρέλαιο στην Κύπρο.Ο Τούρκος Υπουργός είπε σήμερα σε συνέντευξη Τύπου από τα γραφεία τους Τουρκικής Ανώνυμης Εταιρείας Πετρελαίου (TPAO)  ότι η Άγκυρα πιστεύει πως το φυσικό αέριο και το πετρέλαιο πρέπει να αποτελέσει αιτία ειρήνης και όχι έντασης.
"Γι αυτό πρέπει να πω ότι εμείς, τόσο από τεχνικής απόψεως όσο και από πολιτικής η προτίμησή μας είναι όπως το 2014 να μην βρεθούμε σε αμφισβητούμενες περιοχές. Είμαι σε θέση να πω ότι το σεισμογραφικό πλοίο Μπάρμπαρος Χαϊρεττίν Πασά συνεχίζει τις έρευνες του σε περιοχές μη αμφισβητούμενες.Πρέπει να δημιουργηθεί μια δομή η οποία να περιλαμβάνει την Κύπρο ως ολόκληρη. Επιδεικνύουμε μια στάση ισορροπημένη. Λέμε ότι το πετρέλαιο και το φυσικό αέριο που βγαίνει από οποιοδήποτε μέρος της Κύπρου ανήκει σε ολόκληρη την Κύπρο", είπε ο Τανέρ Γιλντίζ. politisnews.eu
02/01/2014 - 13:47

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...