President Mustafa Akinci has said that the potential income from the newly found natural gas reserves in South Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) could contribute in the financing of the agreement for reunifying the island.
In statements to Associated Press (AP), Akinci argued that the natural gas could contribute to peace in our turbulent area by increasing cooperation among Israel, Turkey and Cyprus. However, the unilateral drillings could cause tension again, he said, arguing that the natural gas could be turned into an asset as long as it is used wisely, in a manner that does not (further) trigger tension in the area.
Akinci criticised the launching of the third round of tenders by South Cyprus, in spite of an agreement he had reached on the issue with President Anastasiades at the beginning of the negotiations. Recalling that the debates over the island’s natural resources have been continuing for years and that the Cyprus negotiations had been interrupted because of exploratory drilling offshore Cyprus, Akinci said that “when starting the negotiations last year with Anastasiades, we had agreed that this issue will not negatively influence the negotiating process”. He reiterated that launching the third round of tenders for natural gas constitutes a potential risk for the negotiations.
President Akinci said that he had come very close to a solution during the talks held with President Anastasiades over the last ten months. He argued that the Turkish Cypriots should constitute the majority in the north part of the island which will be under their administration in a possible bi-zonal solution and that the method of exchange of property would guarantee respect of property rights.