Energy ministerial summit in Athens

The first energy ministerial summit was held in Athens on Wednesday between Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and the United States to boost cooperation in the field of energy, security and environmental protection in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

The “3+1” energy summit was attended by Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, Cyprus’ Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Georgios Lakkotrypis, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon.

All counterparts reiterated their support for Cyprus in exploring and developing its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone and expressed their concern with recent provocative steps underway in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“I was very happy to receive the solidarity, and the full support of colleagues and the U.S. for the right of Cyprus to explore its natural resources,” Cyprus’ Energy Minister Lakkotrypis said after briefing his counterparts on Turkish activities in Cyprus’ waters.

“Energy can create tensions as we saw recently between Cyprus and Turkey. We all support Cyprus’ right to exploit its resources. But energy can also help to promote cooperation,” said Israel’s Energy Minister Steinitz.

For his part, Hatzidakis said: “This is not a meeting aimed against any specific country. It is in favor of international law and standing treaties, and is aimed at stability and cooperation in the region.”

“Energy can be a bridge to broader political stability and economic progress,” Fannon stressed.

According to Fannon, Greece is a meaningful energy gateway to Europe through several projects like the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (IGB) and the Liquefied Natural Gas Station in Revithousa.

Referring to the East Med pipeline, all parts reaffirmed the support to speed up its construction. The pipeline will link gas reserves from Israel and Cyprus to Greece and Italy, creating a gas corridor in the Eastern Mediterranean towards Europe.

In a joint statement, it was agreed to work with Italy to move the project forward as soon as possible.