Des découvertes sans précédent Depuis 2003, les progrès techniques de l’exploration en eau profonde (1 650 mètres de profondeur) ont permis la découverte de grands gisements de gaz près des côtes égyptiennes, qui ont entraîné les pays voisins à se lancer dans la prospection. Chypre pourrait en détenir 1 770 milliards de mètres cubes, soit environ la moitié du total. Impliquée des deux côtés de la limite maritime des zones économiques exclusives (ZEE) Israël-Chypre, la firme américaine Noble Energy ...
(1497 more words)
In the wake of Greece, Cyprus has in turn been plunged into the economic crisis that has afflicted Europe for more than five years, with the finger being pointed once again at a corrupt banking system. Quite apart from the lasting crisis of confidence which, as Jean-François Drevet reminds us here, has ensued within the European Union, it will be difficult for Cyprus to recover from this blow. Nevertheless, there may well be an opportunity to take advantage of the changed context, and of the new prospects for gas extraction off the island’s coasts (which lend it strategic interest in an entirely new way), to re-launch negotiations with Turkey on the reunification of the country. Apart from the special role the USA and the UK might play in this (given their geostrategic interests in the region), it would also be an opportunity for the EU to work not simply to manage this conflict (which became an internal one when Cyprus joined the Union in 2004), but to resolve it constructively and durably, in accordance with the European law.
The Cyprus question, which led to the suspension of talks between Turkey and the European Union (EU) in December 2006, still hangs over negotiations on Turkish membership of the EU, which will be back on the agenda at the next European summit in December.
Despite a European ultimatum, Ankara is, in fact, still resolute in its stance: it refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus (an EU member since 2004) or to open its ports and airports to it.
In this context, Jean-François Drevet goes to the heart of the problem – namely, the geopolitical situation of the island, which is divided into two entities: the Republic of Cyprus in the south, the only authority recognized by the international community, and, in the north, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
He goes on to analyse the terms of a possible reunification. Throughout his article he makes reference, in this connection, to the Annan Plan, proposed by Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. In a referendum in 2004 this was accepted by the residents of the north, but rejected by those in the south and has since been abandoned. However, a number of the proposals in that plan could now come in for renewed consideration.