World Bulletin / News Desk
Greek Cypriot administration leader Nicos Anastasiades said Monday an agreement to end the 40-year division of Cyprus could give Turkey access to ample supplies of gas and reboot its relations with Israel.
After a nearly two year-long pause Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders held their first meeting on February 11 and agreed on issuing a joint declaration that outlines how the talks should move forward. It recommends recognizing the equal status of the two states, while aiming to bring the divided communities closer under a federal government.
Anastasiades told AP news agency that the reunification of the divided island could act as a linchpin for regional energy cooperation that could heal the strained relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
Turkey and Israel fell out when Israeli soldiers attacked the Mavi Marmara, a ship in a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials in May 2010, and killed nine Turks aboard.
"A Cyprus settlement, reached as quickly as possible, will assist not only in Israeli (gas export) planning, but also contribute greatly to restoring relations with Turkey," Anastasiades said.
The Greek Cypriot administration is planning to build a liquefied natural gas processing plant which Israel would use to export its gas; a much cheaper alternative to building a pipeline direct to Turkey, according to AP news agency.
Turkey currently doesn't recognize the Greek Cypriot administration and disputes its rights to the offshore gas deposits.
The island has been divided into Greek and Turkish sides since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.
The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the European Union and recognized by all internationally, except Turkey.Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2014, 09:15