The significance of energy considerations as the basis for regional development and stability was raised by Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias at the Economist’s 16th Cyprus Summit, titled ‘Europe: Putting solidarity to the test – Cyprus: In need of a new growth model’, held on Tuesday.
As the key speaker in the panel ‘Energy diplomacy in turbulent times’, the minister referred to the EastMed Gas Forum, whose organizational charter was signed by Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Italy and Jordan in September, as a prime example of regional cooperation hailed by international actors, including the United States.
In this context, Greece’s recent maritime demarcation agreements with Italy and Egypt are also examples of regional multilateralism, as are Cyrpus’ maritime demarcation agreements with Egypt, Lebanon and Israel, he added. The mutual decision of Greece and Albania to refer their maritime issues to the International Court of Justice at The Hague is also part of this amicable diplomacy, said Dendias.
These regional collaborations are open to all interested countries, he noted, although Turkey’s grasp of energy diplomacy at the moment seems to focus on using energy resources are a means to unfold its territorial claims.
Turkey sees the energy deposits in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone as an opportunity to blackmail its government, instead of as an opportunity for a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus issue, he underlined.
Energy resources can offer plenty of ways to progress and growth, provided these ways are pursued in the context of cooperation, diplomacy and respect for International Law, Dendias concluded.