Tuesday Jul 29, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
24o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Biden visits Cyprus as natural-gas find fuels reunification push

Nikos Chrysoloras & Georgios Georgiou

Vice President Joe Biden will become on Wednesday the most senior US official in more than half a century to visit Cyprus as the search for alternative gas-supply routes into Europe draws international attention to the divided island.

After arriving in Nicosia late Wednesday, Biden will on Thursday meet Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to discuss issues including energy and regional security, a senior US administration spokesman told reporters in a conference call before the trip. He will also meet Dervish Eroglu, leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, the official said.

The Ukraine crisis has left European nations seeking to reduce their reliance on Russian energy. In Cyprus, where natural gas deposits have been found offshore, leaders are trying to leverage the attention to generate momentum in negotiations to reunite the island 40 years after Turkey’s invasion. For the US government, the trip is a chance to assess potential supply lines for European gas consumers as global leaders seek to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, the US official said.

“The crisis in Ukraine and the gas reserves create an opportunity to capitalize on the broader interest in the region and push toward a solution of the territorial dispute,” said Takis Hajidemetriou, a former Cypriot lawmaker taking part in the reunification talks.

Biden’s three-day trip to Cyprus -- the only European Union member-state with United Nations peacekeers guarding a buffer zone on its soil -- is the first by a vice-president since Lyndon Johnson in 1962. He arrives from Romania where he met President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

Stalemate

After decades of stalemate, a new round of talks on reunification has entered a “substantive phase,” according to the United Nations. Negotiators have outlined a new federal state with a decision-making structure similar to Belgium’s, where the Dutch and French speaking regions have wide-ranging powers, and federal authority focuses on the budget, defense and foreign policy.

Negotiators have also agreed on policing, courts and the structure of the legislature, Kudret Ozersay, the Turkish Cypriot community’s lead negotiator, said in a May 15 interview. He said that from a technical point of view, the dispute could be solved within months.

Ozersay’s opposite number Andreas Mavrogiannis said the negotiators still have to settle differences over the property of those displaced by the split and the role of Greek and Turkish armed forces on the island as well as how to implement EU rights to freedom of movement.

‘Serious Effort’

“A serious effort is under way,” he said in a May 14 interview. “But we have no concrete results in any of the core outstanding issues.”

Raising the stakes, Noble Energy last year announced it had found as much as 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas trapped beneath the sea bed around the Cypriot coast. Eni SpA, Korea Gas Corp., and Total SA are due to begin exploring for additional deposits this summer and the government expects to have results next year, Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis said in an interview with Bloomberg last week.

“Energy supply considerations have put the Cyprus reunification talks back on the international agenda,” said Niyazi Kizilyurek, a professor at the University of Cyprus.

Cyprus’s government has been pushing the EU to invest in the eastern-Mediterranean island as a hub for shipping gas to Europe from nearby countries including Israel, Egypt and Lebanon, as well as from its own deposits.

Investment boom

The gas reserves open “a window of opportunity” for solving the dispute, Mavrogiannis said. “Cyprus is ideally located in the center of the energy supply routes in the region, and can become a contributor to regional cooperation and stability.”

Mavrogiannis forecast that a successful resolution of the territorial dispute would spur a boom in investment and construction accelerating the island’s recovery from the financial crisis which forced it to request a 10 billion euro ($13.7 billion) bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the euro area.

Ozersay said his concern is that the urgency of the Ukraine crisis persuades the international community to accept the “stability of the status quo” rather than pushing for a full settlement. Still, he met with the US Ambassador John Koenig eight times in a week ahead of Biden’s visit.

“No one can deny the increasing role and the increasing interest of the United States in this issue,” he said. [Bloomberg]



 

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday May 21, 2014 (12:22)  
MPs question whether ELSTAT chief should stay
Thessaloniki metro workers see more delays
Water company eases off debtors with under 3,000 euros outstanding
Central Macedonia police arrest Serb wanted in Croatia for war crimes
Bourse benchmark drops below 1,200-point level again
The Greek bourse reverted to a downward course on Tuesday, with the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index ending at 1,195.96 points after shedding 1.43 percent from Mondays 1,213.31 points....
Greek dairy company Fage wins yogurt case in Britain
Greece's leading dairy company Fage said on Tuesday it had conclusively won a long legal battle in Britain to block a US-based rival from marketing strained yogurt as 'Greek yogurt.' Britain...
Inside Business
VOLLEYBALL
Volleyball national team second in European League
Much as the national volleyball team tried to repeat in the finals of the European League the feat it had achieved in the semifinals, it failed to overturn the advantage Montenegro had got f...
SOCCER
Ranieri says he has little to change in Greek national team
The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) presented Claudio Ranieri as the new Greece coach for the next couple of years, after the Italian manager signed his contract in Athens on Friday. I l...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Through insecurity comes optimism
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras recently expressed his optimism regarding the quota of 180 Parliamentary deputies required for the election of Greeces next president, in order for the countr...
EDITORIAL
Futile policy
The policy that Israel has been pursuing vis-a-vis the Palestinians is wrong and futile. Current tactics have failed to resolve the security issue and, at the same time, they are rapidly dra...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. MPs question whether ELSTAT chief should stay
2. Thessaloniki metro workers see more delays
3. Water company eases off debtors with under 3,000 euros outstanding
4. Central Macedonia police arrest Serb wanted in Croatia for war crimes
5. Thousands of TV viewers to lose analogue signal Friday
6. Hikers spot large fish kill at mouth of Spercheios River
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece names fifth privatization agency chief in four years
2. Archaeological council bans international climbers' gathering at Meteora
3. Venizelos to meet Nimetz in Athens
4. Worlds largest solar boat on Greek mission
5. Tsipras discusses Cyprus with Anastasiades in Athens
6. Municipal engineer dies in Thessaloniki following workplace accident
Today
This Week
1. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
2. Unequal after death
3. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
4. Hedge fund Dromeus turns Greek tragedy to triumph with 160 pct gain
5. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
6. Front-line threats
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.