EastMed deal to be inked January, no word on Italy yet

EastMed deal to be inked January, no word on Italy yet

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades plans to attend a ceremony in Athens for the signing of an agreement on the EastMed pipeline, after Greece announced Sunday the project will proceed despite the objections of Turkey.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Government Spokesman of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyriacos Koushos, said Anastasiades will attend a ceremony next month, in Athens on January 2, for the signing of an intergovernmental agreement between Cyprus, Greece and Israel concerning the EastMed pipeline.

The announcement came after Greek Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis went on Skai TV saying the East Med pipeline would proceed regardless of Turkey's objections.

Greece unwavered over Turkey's objections

"We are determined to proceed on the basis of international law," Hatzidakis said.

But it was not clear whether Italy would also sign the deal. CNA reported that a signing ceremony is expected to take place in the Greek capital in the presence of Anastasiades, Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Koushos said the deal will be complete with Italy’s signature, according to CNA, while Greek ministry sources have neither confirmed nor rejected reports that Italy would put pen to paper early next year to promote the gas pipeline.

The Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, dubbed EastMed with an estimated cost of €6 billion, is a planned natural gas pipeline that would directly connect East Mediterranean energy resources to mainland Greece and Italy through Cyprus and Crete, while bypassing Turkey.

Ankara has raised strong objections over the project, while last week Cyprus praised a new US law geared towards boosting energy and security cooperation in the east Mediterranean.

While the EastMed completely bypasses Turkey, which has been angered over efforts to deny Ankara’s influence in the region, last week Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said Cyprus hoped for all countries in the region to work together.

"Our vision for the region is to see all states together, without excluding anyone, even Turkey… confronting both the challenges and prospects the region faces," said Christodoulides.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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