In the form of urgency, the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday examined the ratification law for the Intergovernmental Agreement regarding the Statute of the International Organization Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), of which Cyprus is a founding member .
The law will be put to a vote in the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives on Thursday, January 28.
In her statements, the Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Natasa Pileidou stated that this is a very important issue, not only in terms of the geopolitical role of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean in relation to the utilization of natural gas, but also on a practical level. He added that in addition to the seven founding members (Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine), there is a strong interest, which has been officially expressed by the EU to become a member as an observer, as well as from the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, but also France, which wants to gain membership. This, he said, shows that the organization is receiving support, and even financial support from the US and the EU.
He explained that it is also important that in the Forum there are subcommittees with the participation of companies operating in the area that have to do with technical and commercial cooperation and therefore the cooperation goes to a more practical level.
“There is a lot of mobility from what we see, as all these additional countries have expressed interest in participating, while many of the founding members have ratified the relevant law,” he said. As he said, so far Palestine, Egypt, Jordan and Israel have ratified, while in Greece, Cyprus and Italy the procedures for the ratification are progressing.
He also said that the Forum is planning a meeting by teleconference in the first weeks of February and it is important that, if all goes well, Cyprus be able to participate in this meeting as one of the official founding members of the Organization, which will have ratified and the relevant law.
The Minister stated that the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs accepted the request of the Ministry to consider the issue as a matter of urgency and therefore it will be put to the Plenary next Thursday.
Asked to comment on a post in which the Israeli Minister of Energy stated that she would like to see Turkey's participation in the Forum, Ms. Peleidou stated that the Forum is open to all countries in the region that may want to become members, in accordance with the principles of its statutes, which concern the respect of the rights of the Member States regarding gas resources, but also respect for international law and the law of the sea.
He added that Cyprus would also view Turkey's participation positively, meaning that it would be ready to take part with these conditions, which are the spirit of the Organization. The Agency, he noted, has a positive approach and the purpose is not to stop anyone from participating, but to involve everyone in a spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and respect for international law.
At the same time, Ms. Peleidou said that the talks are progressing at the level of regional cooperation and that a teleconference is planned on a tripartite basis, with the counterparts of Greece and Israel on January 28. He added that the design remains the same for projects of common interest.
Moreover, in his statements, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, George Lillikas, said that he asked for the bill to be considered as urgent, since the first meeting of the founding members who have ratified the agreement is imminent in early February. Among the members of the Commission, he said, there was unanimity for its ratification even though DIKO and EDEK were absent, however, as he said, he considers that both these parties agree.
Mr. Lillikas spoke about a substantial and important development, which, as he said, is related to the work that has been produced so far through the various tripartite collaborations with the countries of the region. He added that with the Forum, in addition to the declarations, the tripartites also acquire content that creates common interests.
“The energy sector can act as a catalyst in creating many synergies, many common interests, which will be positive for the issues of stability and security in the region, but will also help the countries participating in the Forum in the best and most important use. of their deposits “, he noted.
At the same time, he added that it would be good for Lebanon and Syria to participate in this Forum, although, as he said, there are several problems in the Lebanese-Israeli relations, as well as with Syria, which complicate this development. However, as he said, this is where the Republic of Cyprus must play a bridging role, as it maintains excellent relations with all its neighbors.
Mr. Lillikas said that the importance of the Forum is shown by the fact that the United States, Russia and the European Commission have already shown interest in participating as observers.
He also said that the Forum needs unanimity for new members and that means that each state has the right to veto entry as a member of a country. He also said that countries wishing to join, such as France, which has expressed interest in joining as a full member, should accept the principles of the Forum's statutes, which provide for recognition of the sovereign interests and rights of the Forum's founding members. . He added that in case Turkey wants to join, it should recognize the Republic of Cyprus and its sovereign rights and respect them.
Philenews / ΚΥΠΕ