Cyprus president thinks gas may help bridge the island's division

President Nicos Anastasiades said discovery of natural gas around Cyprus could galvanize international efforts to resolve a longstanding division of the island and smooth development of an alternative energy supply source to Russia.

But he said it was too early to speak of tangible progress in recently relaunched peace talks on the ethnically split island.

Deep differences persist between rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots that have defied the efforts of diplomats and politicians over four decades.

Almost 1 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas has already been discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin, enough to supply Europe with gas for over two years.

Anastasiades said the discovery and the potential prosperity it could bring to countries in the region brought the need for peace into sharper focus.

“It is important for Europe and the United States,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“Europe will never stop needing Russian gas but there can be alternative supply sources,” Anastasiades said.