Beirut – Oil and gas extraction and export topped the discussions of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades with Lebanese officials in Beirut, amid expectations that Cyprus would assume coordination on fuel extraction in the Middle East, in light of the absence of any relation or communication between Lebanon and Israel.
Anastasiades met on Tuesday with Speaker Nabih Berri, with whom he discussed collaboration between Lebanon and Cyprus on local and regional issues.
In remarks following the meeting, Berri said: “In our discussion, we focused on the issue of oil and the economic zone for the sea and the oil wealth and what Israel is trying to extract from us or from our brothers in Cyprus. We agreed that this position is united and that we [will] work together.”
Anastasiades said the meeting was positive and highlighted the deep ties between the two countries.
Meanwhile, diplomatic sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the Lebanese government has been cooperating with Greece and Cyprus in an attempt to reach an agreement that allows the country to benefit from its oil and gas resources.
They added that the three countries would hold a meeting soon to discuss this matter.
In this regard, the Cypriot president has extended an invitation to President Michel Aoun to participate in the tripartite meeting, which will take place in Cyprus.
“Turkey, Cyprus and Greece have common interests in reaching an agreement, and they all understand Lebanon’s sensitive issue with Israel,” the sources said.
The Cypriot president had earlier met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, among others, and will meet other officials before leaving Lebanon Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil met on Tuesday with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, on top of a Cypriot delegation.
Speaking at a joint press conference following the meeting, Bassil said that talks touched on future projects in the oil and gas sector, expressing Lebanon’s readiness to increase the level of cooperation and launch dialogue in the energy sector between both countries, in accordance with the principles of the international law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea.