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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-11-07

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Within the next few weeks, the government of the Republic of Cyprus will announce the second licensing round for hydrocarbon exploration offshore Cyprus, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis announced on Monday.

    He was speaking after a meeting with the new board of the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) where he informed them on matters of energy and natural gas.

    Sylikiotis said ETEK asked him, in his capacity as member of the Ministerial Committee that will deal with Cyprus hydrocarbon issues, to overall briefing them on the energy developments, noting that most technocrats that are dealing with the issue are members of ETEK.

    He said that a technical committee under the Ministry of Communications and Works has been appointed to decide on the site of the Energy Centre.

    Asked where the issue of the second round of licensing stands, Sylikiotis said we are in the process of planning and soon the second round of licensing will be announced.

    Sylikiotis said work is underway to prepare the proposals and documents while the experts group which will be advising the government on energy and natural gas issues, will soon be announced.

    Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.

    Drilling has already begun by Houston-based Noble Energy, off Cyprus south-eastern coast.

    Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.


    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has urged Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu not to be in a hurry for the convening of a four-party or five-party international conference on the Cyprus problem but to proceed to the negotiating table in the same constructive way as Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

    Stephanou recalled that an international conference on the Cyprus problem will be convened for the settlement of the international aspects of the problem, once the two parties are very close to an agreement on the internal aspects of the problem.

    Asked if UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon told the two leaders during their meeting last week in New York, in his presence, that the meeting in January in New York will be the last time that he will offer his good offices mission, Stephanou replied negatively, noting that the UN Secretary Generals good offices are provided on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions and the SG reports to the Security Council.

    Invited to comment on a statement by Eroglu that the issue of territory will be discussed once a four-party or five-party conference is convened, Stephanou said that the international conference will be convened for the settlement of the international aspects of the Cyprus problem, as the SG himself has said, and the international conference will convene once we are close to an agreement on issues regarding internal aspects of the Cyprus problem.


    The loan agreement of a value of 2.5 billion Euro to the Republic of Cyprus from Russia has been signed and is due to be given in three installments from January 2012 onwards, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said.

    In statements he made to the press on Monday Stephanou said that our countrys medium term financial needs have been met from the loan that the Cypriot government secured, acting proactively, from Russia, of a value of 2.5 billion Euro.

    Now, he noted, we see that other European countries are trying to secure a loan from either China or Russia.

    Invited to say whether the amount of the loan can be increased, he said nothing has been said for an increase on the amount of the loan, adding that the loan from Russia is very specific. The agreement, he said, has been signed.


    Work at the Press and Information Office (PIO) to develop the communications strategy of Cyprus EU Presidency, in the second half of 2012, is progressing at a quick pace, PIO Director Eleonora Gavrielides has told CNA.

    Gavrielides believes that the PIO will make up for lost time, wasted during the initial phase of preparations, noting that her Office has been working on this for the past couple of years.

    Moreover, the PIO Director says that the Cyprus EU Presidency will be ready to face possible communication challenges from Turkeys threats to freeze its relations with the EU during Cyprus Council Presidency term. In such an event, she notes, Nicosia will act according to its mandate, as the country holding the Council Presidency, responsible for coordinating the response of the 27 member states.

    In an interview with CNA, Gavrielides also underlines the importance of chairing a successful EU Presidency in order, as she says, to reverse the widespread perception among member states that the country remains single-focused, due to the Cyprus issue. Moreover, she notes that the country will have the chance to acquire a good reputation in the EU, by fulfilling its role as the policy coordinator of the various trends among member states. This image, she explains, will be very difficult to reverse.

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