This is what Italian Minister of Defence Roberta Pinotti said in Nicosia on Monday evening after talks with her Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides.
“Italy’s ENI is working right now (here in Cyprus) and I believe that we will have a positive development for the whole of Europe,” Pinotti said.
“We have to work for security and to confront difficulties and obstacles. We have to work for the future welfare of Europe within the framework of a flourishing economy,” she added.
After the Pinotti-Fokaides talks, the two governments signed a bilateral agreement for the sharing of confidential information.
She was later received by President Nicos Anastasiades with media in both countries commenting that the one-day visit of the Italian politician was ‘symbolic’.
Because Rome wanted to send a message to Ankara regarding the gas drilling activities in the region.
Cyprus started offshore drilling for gas in its economic zone triggering the strong reaction of Turkey, which warned it would take counter-measures.
Turkey, which occupies the northern part of the island since an invasion in 1974, claims that Cyprus’ internationally-recognised government has no jurisdiction to explore for hydrocarbons.
Turkey is the only member of the United Nations which does not recognise Cyprus. And Unlike Nicosia, it has not signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Total and ENI moved into position on July 14 to start exploratory drilling in plot 11 with Turkey ‘warning’ the energy companies, and indirectly the two capitals, not to proceed as they would risk “losing a friend”.
A total of 2,000 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas has been discovered in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Cyprus, Israel and Egypt and exploration continues.
Earlier this month, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly also visited the island.