28 January 2013 13:51

Nicosia - - Transfer of Cyprus natural gas through Turkey cannot be done unless the Cyprus problem is solved, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou made clear on Saturday.

The comment came after an article published by “The Economist” stating that “Cyprus’s creditors may press for the faster (and cheaper) option of building a pipeline to Turkey: something that, with settlement talks with the Turkish-Cypriot north stalled, Greek-Cypriots would find hard to swallow”.

Government Spokesman told reporters that anything related to Cyprus’ natural resources is a sovereign right of the Republic and no one has the right to intervene, adding that this was made clear to everyone by the Government and that the international community has defended Cyprus’ rights against Turkish threats.

Stephanou stressed that neither the Troika (EC, ECB, IMF) of international lenders can intervene in Cyprus` natural resources. He said that despite Troika’s attempts to include a condition in the Memorandum of Understanding that the Troika and the Government would co-decide on natural gas issues, this was prevented due to the Government’s strong resistance.

Cyprus draws up plans and decides on what would be the course of action, he noted.

The Spokesman said that proceeds from natural gas exploitation will begin to flow immediately.

Cyprus was divided in 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN led talks had been underway with a view to reunify the island under a federal roof. There had been a serious setback in the negotiations, which climaxed with the Turkish Cypriot’s leader decision to walk out of the talks on 29 March 2012, by unilaterally declaring that day’s meeting of the two leaders as the last.

Exploratory drilling conducted by Huston-based Noble Energy in Block 12 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, revealed a gross natural gas reserve between 3 to 9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a 60 percent probability of geologic success. Noble is expected to extract and transfer to Cyprus natural gas by late 2018.

Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoclis Sylikiotis signed on January 24 contracts with the ENI/KOGAS consortium for hydrocarbons exploration in blocks 2,3 and 9 in the EEZ of Cyprus.

State revenue from signature bonuses of the three contracts stands at 150 million euros.
(CNA)


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