Full support for Cyprus' and Greece's stance on regional energy issues and for the expansion of security and environmental co-operation is the outcome of the 1st Energy Ministerial Meeting, held in Athens on Wednesday, and participated by Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United States.
Greek Environment and Energy Minister Costis Hatzidakis welcomed Cypriot Energy, Commerce and Industry Minister George Lakkotripis, Israeli Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz and the US Deputy Foreign Minister for energy sources Francis Fannon. Hatzidakis clarified that this "is not a meeting aimed against any specific country but is in favor of International Law and standing treaties, and is aimed at stability and co-operation in the region." "We support Cyprus' right to exploit its energy resources," said Israeli Energy Minister Steinitz, noted that gas exports from Israel to Egypt will start in a few weeks and indicated that "energy can create tensions-as in the case of Cyprus-but can also boost cooperation." Cypriot Energy Minister Lakkotripis briefed his counterparts on Turkish violations in Cypriot national waters and also noted the three countries' solidarity to Cyprus. "We will continue," he said, "to work with neighboring countries for stability and prosperity in the region," and stressed that hydrocarbon exploration brings most regional countries "closer together."