Cyprus’ defense minister hailed the coopperation between his east Mediterranean island nation and Egypt, saying that both countries are exchanging information to bolster security around an offshore search for natural gas as part of enhanced defense ties.
Minister Savvas Angelides’s remarks came as he escorted his Egyptian counterpart, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, to a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
Angelides considered that the two neighbors’ information-sharing extends to countering any extremist threats.
The Cypriot minister noted that defense ties are also being upgraded between Cyprus, Egypt and Greece as through joint military exercises and personnel exchanges.
Egypt and Cyprus share a sea border delineating their respective exclusive economic zones where each carries out exploratory gas drilling.
Officials said a recent discovery of Egypt’s Zohr gas field bodes well for more discoveries in Cypriot waters.
On another hand, Angelides announced that the next Cyprus-Greece-Egypt tripartite summit will be held on October 8, hosted by Egypt.
The first tripartite gathering between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus was held in 2014 and quickly turned into a broad alliance fostering cooperation across a range of economic, political and strategic interests.
Although energy is high on the agenda of all three countries other regional issues — the unification of Cyprus, establishing the Palestinian state, the situations in Libya and Syria and terrorism — are also addressed at the previous summits. Several agreements have been signed between the three countries promoting tourism and protecting heritage.
Last year, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus have agreed to establish a forum for natural gas-producing nations in the eastern Mediterranean to capitalise on new gas discoveries.
The forum includes countries that natural gas pipelines cross from wells to liquefaction plants and then to international markets, the Egyptian presidency said.
“It will help natural gas producing nations and those gas pipelines cross coordinate natural gas policies on the road to achieving maximum benefit from current and potential reserves,” Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Radi said.