Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, discussed on Tuesday the Turkish-Cypriot dispute over gas exploration in the Mediterranean, which erupted two months ago.
The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement that the two ministers held a bilateral meeting, during which Christodoulides informed Shoukry of “the security challenges facing his country in the exploration of gas in its territorial waters”
He also called for “enhancing cooperation in the energy sector and following up projects of bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, education and manufacturing.
According to the ministry, the Cypriot minister criticized “Turkey’s illegal actions in the economic zone” and thanked Egypt for its strong support for Cyprus in all international and regional forums.
The gas crisis erupted in February when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced Ankara’s determination to start searching for energy sources in the region and its rejection to recognize an agreement for gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean signed in 2013 between Cairo and Nicosia.
In comments to the media back then, Cavusoglu considered the 2013 Egyptian-Cypriot agreement on utilization of natural sources in the East Mediterranean’s economic zone to be invalid.
“There is a legal framework for cooperation between the two countries, we discussed its development in the field of energy and we found interest from Cypriot companies to invest in Egypt,” Christodoulides said, in a clear response to Turkey’s stance.
Shoukry, for his part, underlined “Egypt’s commitment to the cooperative framework between the north and the south of the Mediterranean.”