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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-05-22
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Austria keen on doing business with Cyprus, says FischerAustria has a great business interest in Cyprus and excellent possibilities for cooperation in economic matters, the country's President Heinz Fischer said Tuesday addressing a business forum in Vienna.
On the issue of natural gas in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone, President Fischer said the island's natural wealth is a sound foundation for a modern economy, noting that Cyprus, as a democratic country and member of the EU, has the capability to produce energy.
In his address to the forum, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, who concludes his two-day official visit to Austria, said the recent discovery of large quantities of natural gas within Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone creates extraordinary prospects for partnerships.
President Christofias said he is confident that this forum will enhance and strengthen even more trade and economic relations between Cyprus and Austria.
Your presence here today, he told participants, "proves that you recognize the prospects of Cyprus, which has been transformed into a modern international business and service centre. The strategic geographical location and attractive business environment as well as the legal, banking and financial system, combined with the necessary infrastructure, establish Cyprus as an attractive destination for foreign investments. These benefits are reflected in the total foreign investments in the country, which have exceeded 13 billion euro".
It is a fact that the global economic and financial crisis has affected the economy of Cyprus, he acknowledged, noting that to overcome these problems "we work methodically to bring the economy back to recovery." In this respect, he added, "we proceed with the implementation of development policies that take into account the comparative advantages and manufacturing capabilities that Cyprus has".
He expressed great satisfaction, that despite the difficult international economic situation, Cyprus - Austrian relations have improved significantly, while the areas of cooperation have been expanded.
However, he added, "there is still room for further development and expansion of the cooperation between us. I hope that today`s event will give new impetus and will open new channels of communication between the businessmen of our two countries, and thus highlighting new areas and sectors of cooperation".
One such sector is certainly that of energy, the President added, which can become an area for closer cooperation between our two countries. The recent discovery of large quantities of natural gas within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus creates extraordinary prospects for partnerships, said President Christofias, adding that this is proved by the large investment interest that has begun to be demonstrated for our country.
President Christofias further remarked that "experts believe that if there is drilling at a greater depth, then oil will be found".
Referring to Cyprus assuming the Presidency of the EU on July 1st, President Christofias said "it is the top European obligation that Cyprus has been asked to undertake since its accession to the EU and, undoubtedly, causes to all Cypriots feelings of anxiety, but also enthusiasm. Cyprus assumes the Presidency at a difficult period of time, but it is an opportunity for us to work constructively for a better Europe, first and foremost for the citizens".
On the economy, President Christofias said that the world economic financial crisis has affected the Cypriot economy. To handle the problems, he added, "we work methodically for the speedy recovery of the Cypriot economy", noting that "apart from fiscal purging, we are also proceeding with the implementation of development policies that take into consideration the advantages and productive capabilities that Cyprus has."
On his part, President Fischer said that strengthening economic and commercial ties between the two countries and reinforcing investments are issues which he examined with President Christofias.
He said there is a great business interest in Cyprus on Austria's part, noting that there are excellent possibilities for cooperation in both countries in the field of economy. Imports and exports between Austria and Cyprus, he added, exceed 200 million euro, while exports have increased six fold in the past 15 years.
Tourist exchanges, said President Fischer, are on very good levels between the two countries.
On the issue of natural gas in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone, President Fischer indicated that reserves may be greater than the 5-8 trillion cubic feet (tcf), already discovered, pointing out that the island's natural wealth is a sound foundation for a modern economy.
"Cyprus, as a democratic country and member of the EU, has the capability to produce energy," he added.
In December 2011, President Christofias announced that the results of the exploratory drilling in Cyprus` block 12 were positive, describing the discovery of hydrocarbons as historic for the island.
US company Noble Energy, which carried out the drilling, discovered 310 feet of net natural gas pay. The drilling reached a depth of 19,225 feet in water depth of about 5,540 feet.
The initial data that emerged from the exploratory drilling and the evaluation checks carried out indicate the existence of a natural gas reservoir ranging from 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a gross mean of 7 tcf.
Cyprus has also launched a second licensing round for the 12 remaining blocks in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
In response to Cypriot exploration activities, Ankara has deployed in the past warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey's moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
Cyprus has also protested to the UN and the EU illegal drilling for hydrocarbons which the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) began on Thursday in the occupied area of Famagusta in the framework of an illegal bilateral agreement Turkey has signed with the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied areas.
Turkey, a candidate country for EU accession, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since May 2004.
 President attends working lunch hosted by the Austrian ChancellorThe Cyprus issue as well as Nicosia's preparations ahead of the assumption of the EU presidency, in July, were among the issues discussed at a working lunch between President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and the Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann, in Vienna.
The Cypriot President, who wraps up Tuesday his official visit to Austria, discussed with the Austrian Chancellor the possibilities to further promote economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.
According to an official press release, at lunch, which lasted about an hour, they also confirmed the "excellent political relations between Cyprus and Austria".
 EDA supports Cyprus' EU PresidencyChief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA) Claude-France Arnould has said the EDA will support Cyprus during its Presidency of the Council of the EU, due to begin July 1.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Defense Minister Demetris Eliades, following their talks, Eliades thanked Arnould for EDA's support, adding that "cooperation, support and advice from our EU partners and officials is useful and their help is very welcome".
Our aim, he noted, is to have a successful presidency with a view to serve the common goals of security and defense in a creative and effective way.
Claude-France Arnould expressed the Agency's support to Cyprus' EU Presidency and stressed that ``we will be by the side of Cyprus these six months which will be difficult, but very important.``
 Nicosia celebrates launch of Olympic flame relayAn event took place Tuesday in Nicosia to celebrate the launch of the Olympic flame relay for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
British High Commissioner in Nicosia Matthew Kidd and Greek Ambassador Vassilis Papaioannou celebrated the launch of the Olympic flame relay at an event co-organised with President of the Cyprus National Olympic Committee Ouranios Ioannides and Mayor of Nicosia Constantinos Yiorkadjis.
Highlighting the importance of the symbolism behind the Olympic ceremonies, Matthew Kidd said that cultural exchange was key to the Olympic spirit and part of what made the Games so significant. He pointed out that the event highlights the friendship between Britain and Greece.
The Greek Ambassador conveyed a warm message of friendship and recalled that Greece gave birth to the Olympic spirit and human values.
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