“If this project is practically feasible, [if] we can meet the great geological challenges and, at the same time, it is financially viable, there is the political will to implement it,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with Kathimerini, when asked to comment on the latest US view that EastMed – the submarine pipeline seen supplying Europe with natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean – is not a viable and effective solution.
He clarifies that if the plan is not feasible, he and his associates are ready to consider alternative options, which will not affect anyone’s interests.
How do you comment on the US position that EastMed is not a viable and effective solution?
I would by no means want to comment on reports that are attributed to a non-paper. However, in relation to this pipeline project, I can tell you that it is at the preparation stage of the geophysical and feasibility studies. Our position remains firm: If this project is practically feasible, [if] we can meet the great geological challenges and if, at the same time, it is financially viable, there is the political will to implement it. After all, that is why we signed the relevant transnational agreement, which, by the way, is in itself a text in support of our positions against the Turkish claims in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
But what if the plan is not feasible?
If this plan is not feasible, then we are ready to consider other options with our partners. In any case, I do not think that considering other options harms the interests of any of us, as long as the solution that will be chosen respects international law – something that is a given for all involved. This has been our position from the beginning and it remains the same. I would like to add here that the European Union itself has adopted this project as one of common interest, and has invested in studies concerning it. At the same time, let me remind you that the EU has only recently recognized natural gas as a transitional fuel toward green energy.
Do not you think that such US positions degrade the role of the tripartite summit meetings?
The tripartite meetings are not held to build the EastMed pipeline. That is why we have similar meetings with all the countries in the region and the Arabian Gulf. I am observing various reactions and comments and I point out that this pipeline is only one part of what concerns our cooperation with the countries of the region and in this case with Greece and Israel. This cooperation extends to dozens of other areas – the economy, investment, tourism, green development, defense, security etc – and, in any case, the course of this project will not change these relations and the scope of the strategic cooperation we have developed.
You said that the EastMed project is being studied. However, judging by the latest developments, when the Greek-Cypriot Nautical Geo research vessel was stopped by Turkish ships, one could say that those infamous studies are an evasion.
Not in any way. The infamous – as you call them – studies are real and certainly not an evasion. The fact that you refer to the Nautical Geo and its activities confirms this. These are studies that, as I said before, are part of the European framework for the implementation of the project that has been described as “of common interest.”