ICEC

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Cyprus-Egypt relations have been always based on mutual respect and strong friendship which have lasted for over 50 years in fields of political, economic, trade, and energy, a message the President of Cyprus H.E. Nicos Anastasiades was keen to convey and confirm during receiving a senior-level Egyptian media mission at the presidential headquarters in Nicosia. An Egyptian media mission has been visiting Cyprus this week with the presence of a high-profile Editors-in-chiefs of Egyptian newspapers along with representatives of business community in Cyprus and Mr. George Partou – the Chairman of the Cyprus-based IPC International.

President Anastasiades also stressed on the vital role which could be played by both Egypt and Cyprus to cement the joint ties and mutual understanding between the European Union and the Arab world.

He also asserted that his country will work on reinforcing relations with Egypt as a neighboring country putting into consideration it ties with the EU. The relationship between Egypt and Cyprus will always remain to be a strong solid one on all levels since Cyprus understands the reasons behind the outbreak of June 30 Uprising which has ousted the former president Mohamed Morsi for the purpose of establishing a democratic ruling system that would meet the hopes and aspirations of the Egyptian people, the Cypriot president noted.

On the notion of the Cyprus-Israel relationship and its impact on Egypt  in the light of the Israeli high-profile officials’ recent visit to Cyprus, H.E. Anastasiades referred that enhancing Israeli and Cypriot ties is not going to be on the expense of other countries, notably Egypt. He added that the tripartite meetings among Egypt, Cyprus and Greece act as an advantage point for the three countries in all fields specifically in the economic sector. By having good relations with Egypt and Israel, Cyprus can play the role of the mediator between the two countries, the Cypriot president said.

Moreover, the Cypriot President mentioned that by virtue of being an EU member, Cyprus always adopts more balanced and fair position towards Egypt. “We are allies for Egypt in the EU. As mentioned earlier, Egypt can consider Cyprus as its ambassador in the EU.”

He added that Cyprus authorities have not described what happened recently in Egypt as a military coup, noting that his country had adopted a clear position that only the Egyptian people have the right to determine their destiny. The EU cannot take a stance without reference to its member countries and Cyprus are among of many EU countries which asserted on the people’s right to determine their future rulers and destination.

Crises Induce New Opportunities … I Encourage Cypriot Businessmen to Visit Egypt

President Nicos Anastasiades has also highlighted the constant efforts exerted by Egypt and Cyprus to explore as well as exploit gas and oil reserves which can be found in the economic zones lying in the territorial waters. He pointed out that the delineation agreement signed in 2003  to demarcate the maritime borders of Egypt and Cyprus has paved the way towards new opportunities to boost strategic ties between the two countries in energy sector, notably the hydrocarbons. Such strategic ties shall have positive impact in terms of ensuring economic development and prosperity for both nations and of reinforcing peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean region afterwards.

– In the light of the deeply-root relationship between Egypt and Cyprus, could you, Mr. President tell us how do you see the bilateral relations after the outbreak of June 30 Uprising? and what about your future visions about the Cyprus-Egypt ties?

President: The relationship between Egypt and Cyprus will always remain to be a strong solid one on all levels since Cyprus understands the reasons behind the outbreak of June 30 Uprising which has been erupted against the former president Mohamed Morsi for the purpose of establishing a democratic ruling system that would meet the hopes and aspirations of the Egyptian people.

Currently, we are working on reinforcing our relations with Egypt as a neighboring country putting into consideration its ties with the EU. On the top of agenda of Cyprus’ foreign policy is to maintain current solid relations with Egypt, and we have a long history of constructive bilateral relations. We are confident that Egypt’s future will be much better within the upcoming phase.

Based on the strong friendship, the bilateral relations between the two countries have bloomed in major fields since both countries have been witnessing a large number of official visits in which many treaties were signed, notably the delineation agreement to demarcate the maritime borders of each country signed in 2003.

-Cyprus has been always a great ally for the Arab world, but currently there are growing concerns over the nature of the Cyprus-Israel relations, notably in the wake of the recent visit of the Israeli high-profile officials to Cyprus , what will happen to the  demarcation of maritime borders between Egypt, Cyprus and Israel?

President: Enhancing Israeli and Cypriot relations will never be on the expense of other countries, specially Egypt. Our meetings with Israel can act as an advantage point for the three countries in all fields, notably in the economic sector. By having good relations with Egypt and Israel, Cyprus can play the role of the mediator between the two countries

The maritime border demarcation has not been facing any problems for Egypt has signed in February 2003 a delineation agreement to demarcate the maritime borders. The point is that some countries had tried to drive a wedge between Egypt and Cyprus through circulating baseless rumors about the latter’s takeover of joint wells  and sold them to Israel and this was not true.

-Cyprus has become an EU member country in May 2004, yet EU is taking a hostile stance towards June 30 Uprising describing it as a coup, can Cyprus as an EU member since May 2004 mediate to correct the EU’s negative views about the situation in Egypt?

President: By virtue of being an EU member, Cyprus always adopts more balanced and fair position towards Egypt to the extent that we can describe our relations with Egypt as saying that Egypt can consider Cyprus as its ambassador in the EU.

Cyprus has never described what happened recently in Egypt as a military coup, noting that his country had adopted a clear position that only the Egyptian people have the right to determine their destiny. The EU cannot take a stance without reference to its member countries and Cyprus are among of many EU countries which asserted on the people’s right to determine their future rulers and destination. Our country hopes that Egypt will reach enough understanding between all the existing political powers in order to reach the political stability that the country deserves through effective negotiations and agreements.

as an unbiased party, I would neither like to comment nor interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt. However, I am worried because over the course of many years, we have seen discrimination against Christians as an example. I do hope that Egypt reaches a compromise soon and have democracy applied as a rule.

We support the Egyptian initiative for disarming mass destruction weapons for the ultimate goal of peace and eliminating violence.

-Egypt and Cyprus are currently facing quite similar economic situation putting into consideration the reasons behind each country’s crisis. The current crises of the two countries have reversely affected the economic bilateral ties, what are your plans to restore bilateral economic relations? And what about the new facilities that will be granted to Egyptian investors to enter the Cypriot market?


President: We must pay more attention to the constant efforts exerted by Egypt and Cyprus to explore as well as exploit gas and oil reserves which can be found in the economic zones lying in the territorial waters. Cyprus and Egypt have signed in 2003 a delineation agreement signed to demarcate the maritime borders of the two countries and which in turn has paved the way towards new opportunities to boost strategic ties between the two countries in energy sector, notably the hydrocarbons. Such strategic ties shall have positive impact in terms of ensuring economic development and prosperity for both nations and of reinforcing peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean region afterwards.

Despite the recent economic crisis in Cyprus and the political developments in Egypt, I believe that at times of crises, new opportunities emerge. This is what made the officials in Cyprus willing to encourage Cypriot businessmen to visit Egypt and explore new investment opportunities. At the same time, there are new opportunities for Egypt to use Cyprus as a gateway to the EU to boost more economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

– What about your plans regarding the energy file in the light of the new gas explorations?

President: Cyprus and its exploration partners Noble Energy announced this month of an around 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) natural gas find, lowering the initial estimate of 7 tcf made in late 2011.

Noble Energy operates Block 12 offshore the Republic of Cyprus with a 70 percent working interest.  Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each have 15 percent working interest.

I cannot deny that the new gas discovery has attracted the EU’s attentions once again to the Eastern Mediterranean as gas alternative for Europe instead of depending on Russia.

– What about the nature of the Turkey-Cyprus relations? And is there any potential compromise to be reached soon to end the border disputes between the two countries?

President: Cyprus and Turkey are ongoing negotiations, seeking to to reach a solid and effective political solution for the dispute. The Cypriot government is currently preparing for new negotiations following ineffective talks held  all over the last 39 years with no fruitful results. Our main aim from the upcoming negotiations is to reestablish the trust between Turkish and Cyprian citizens.

Our conflict with the Turkey is not a religious one. It was emerged after with Turkey’s invasion in 1974. Turkey occupied the northern part of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, and later upon those territories the Turkish Cypriot community.

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