Speaking at the 4th Energy Symposium in Nicosia, Anastasiades said: “It is a year during which decisions will be taken in the way in which the stores in Block 12 will be exploited and during which our plans with Israel and Egypt will be seen through”.
Noting the giant Zohr Field in Egypt’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was only six kilometres from Cyprus’ Block 11, which has been licensed to France’s Total, Anastasiades said the possibility of finding natural gas within our own EEZ “seem to be encouraging”.
In his address, Anastasiades also referred to the ongoing efforts to solve the Cyprus Problem and the improving economy.
“We have put all the aspects of the Cyprus Problem on the table and I am hopeful that will be son be able to have a clearer picture of the course of negotiations,” he added.
Without going into more detail, Anastasiades said: “I think there is a good opportunity at this time to solve our national problem”.
He underlined the two leaders currently had the assistance of countries with influence on the decision to be taken.
“To be more specific,” Anastasiades said: “I would like to hope that beyond the rhetoric there will also be practical support, encouraging and backing from Turkey so that we reach a solution that will finally allow for hope and prospects as soon as possible”.
He said this solution should also create a functional contemporary state in line with EU principals and respecting human rights.
Anastasiades also noted the two issues - solving the Cyprus Problem and making the most of natural gas stores - “open up horizons we could not have dreamed of for our country before”.
He also referred to Wednesday tripartite meeting between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt in Athens. A high-level meeting between Greece, Israel and Cyprus would also be taking place in Cyprus in January, Anastasiades added.
“At these meetings, we will set the cooperation parameters within which the technocrats will be able to act to implement the decisions,” he said.
The President also referred to efforts to encourage cooperation with even more countries in the region, mentioning his recent visit to Jordan in particular.
He said Jordan’s Energy Minister was expected to visit Cyprus soon, as a first phase of further cooperation.
Anastasiades also made reference to the European Council’s conclusions on the energy sector saying they were crucial to Cyprus, particularly if the country’s natural gas stores were taken into consideration within the EU’s wider energy security policies.
Anastasiades also said Cyprus was turning a corner in terms of its economy.
“We avoided the danger of financial collapse, we have stabilised our economy and we can now determine clear indications of a return to healthy financial conditions,” he said. Anastasiades added conditions were being created “for a safe and sustainable return to development”.
Linking this to the natural gas findings, he added: “The discovery of natural gas stores within our EEZ creates excellent investment potential, creating a branch of financial activity in our country that will have a huge dynamic”.