Greek officials have conveyed concerns over Turkey’s illegal activities inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) during Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer’s visit to Athens on Wednesday.
After meeting with the US official, Environment and Energy Minister Costis Hatzidakis said he had “expressed to the American side our concerns over Turkey’s provocative actions off Cyprus.”
The Greek minister added that public statements made by American officials “are in the direction of recognizing the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.”
Hatzidakis also hailed progress on a number of energy projects, including the Greek-Bulgarian gas interconnector (IGB), the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis, in northern Greece, “which will reinforce the country's geostrategic position and create a different landscape for gas trading.”
He said the two sides also discussed the issue of cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector, especially gas in the Southeastern Mediterranean – both within the framework of the EastMed Gas Forum and Greece’s contacts with countries such as Cyprus, Egypt, Israel.
In his comments, Palmer said that “Greece is at the heart of energy infrastructure development in the Eastern Mediterranean,” adding however that there is still much work to be done to establish the most economical way of transporting gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to the markets.
“A number of options are being considered, the US strongly supports cooperation between countries in the region on the development and transfer of energy resources,” he said.
Palmer also stressed that the US and the Trump administration remain “committed to working in the Mediterranean.”
“Our relations with Greece are strong and dynamic,” Palmer said, adding that his visit to the Greek Energy Ministry aimed at highlighting opportunities for further development of cooperation between the two allies.