Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday, that Israel backs Cyprus’ offshore oil and gas drilling despite Turkish objections and that the European Union should act as mediator, according to Cyprus Mail.
“We respect the integrity of Cyprus. You have your exclusive rights to explore in your economic zone for gas or oil reserves and we think it’s unnecessary to add other tensions to the problems of the Middle East,” Lieberman told reporters in Nicosia.
“I hope that the EU has enough power to be a real mediator and to take a reasonable position regarding the gas dispute and exploration in the (Cyprus’) economic zone,” he said.
Lieberman had a joint press conference with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides. The two men talked about Cyprus-Israel relations, the Cyprus issue, the Middle East peace talks, the situation in the eastern Mediterranean after the Turkish provocations inside Cyprus’ EEZ, as well as other issues.
The Israeli minister praised Nicosia for its responsible stance regarding the Turkish ship invading Cyprus’ EEZ that has triggered the suspension of peace talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides. Israel and Cyprus have strong economic and trade ties.
On the upcoming energy cooperation, Lieberman said he hoped that by next year a strategic arrangement with “tangible results” would be in place in the context of an international consortium of energy corporations.
Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides confirmed that President Nicos Anastasiades will be meeting with the Israeli prime minister on December 2, following the trilateral summit in Cairo this weekend with Anastasiades, Prime Minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.