Full support for Cyprus‘ and Greece’s stance on regional energy issues and for the expansion of security and environmental co-operation was the outcome of the first-annual Energy Ministerial Meeting.
Held in Athens on Wednesday, the forum hosted ministerial-level representatives from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States.
Greek Environment and Energy Minister Costis Hatzidakis welcomed Cyprus’ Energy, Commerce and Industry Minister George Lakkotripis, Israeli Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz and the US Deputy Foreign Minister for Energy Sources, Francis Fannon.
Hatzidakis clarified that the forum “is not a meeting aimed against any specific country but is in favor of international law and standing treaties, and is aimed at stability and co-operation in the region.”
“We support Cyprus’ right to exploit its energy resources,” said Israeli Energy Minister Steinitz, noting that gas exports from Israel to Egypt will begin in a few weeks and indicated that “energy can create tensions – as in the case of Cyprus – but can also boost cooperation.”
Cypriot Energy Minister Lakkotripis briefed his counterparts on Turkish violations in Cypriot national waters, and also expressed thanks for the three countries’ solidarity with Cyprus.
US Deputy Foreign Minister Fannon noted that energy could pave the way to political stability and economic growth in the region.
He also reiterated Greece’s role as an energy bridge to the European Union, with infrastructure projects such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria and the Liquefied Natural Gas Station in Revithousa, which all contribute, he said, to energy security and diversification of supply sources.