A tripartite “historical” meeting among the heads of government of Greece, Cyprus and Jordan in Nicosia on January 16 strengthened relations between the three countries and paved the way for political and economic cooperation, including energy.

“The greatest benefit of the Cyprus-Greece-Jordan tripartite meeting in Nicosia is political,” Cyprus Natural Hydrocarbons Company CEO Charles Ellinas told New Europe on January 19. “The meeting reaffirmed the excellent relations and friendship between the three countries and laid the foundations for strategic and regional cooperation for political and economic benefits. They signed three agreements for co-operation: in renewable energy, protection of cultural heritage and seafaring,” he added.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Jordan’s King Abdullah II discussed tripartite relations and regional developments. “With President Anastasiades and King Abdullah we also agreed to extend our trilateral cooperation in fields of common interest,” Tsipras said. “In the fields of Renewable Energy Sources, handling water reserves, the field of agriculture, aquaculture, tourism, merchant shipping, protection of antiquities and health,” he added.

“We also signed today a Memorandum of Understanding for Renewable Energy Sources, which sets the bases and directions for our countries’ cooperation in this field,” the Greek Premier said.

Cyprus Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis told a press conference after the tripartite meeting that the agreement signed on energy concerns mainly renewable energy sources and the intention of the three countries to exchange know-how to promote this area, IBNA reported.

“Of course, we also discussed with our colleagues, both the Greek and the Jordan, the issues of hydrocarbons and some ideas that we have agreed to discuss further either in Athens or in Amman,” the news agency quoted Lakkotrypis as saying.

SolarPower Europe CEO James Watson noted that Greece, Cyprus and Jordan’s solar energy sector has big potential. “We see a steady increase in public-private partnerships on renewable energy across Europe and the world. If the trilateral agreement between Greece, Jordan and Cyprus can boost solar installations in these sunbathed countries, it can be a positive development for the clean energy transition,” Watson told New Europe.

Meanwhile, MEDREG Secretary General Fabio Tambone hailed the strengthening of energy ties among Cyprus, Greece and Jordan. “We believe that the Memorandum of Understanding on renewable energy sources signed by the three countries will help to reinforce the role regulators play in order to ensure that new investments in RES-generated capacity are remunerated in a way that is economically sustainable,” Tambone told New Europe, commenting on this MoU and Declaration. “Regulators are also key to govern the fair integration of RES-generated electricity in the grid, accompanying the substantial technological changes that take place in the RES sector. The regulators of the three countries involved (CERA, RAE and EMRC) are among the most active members of our Association, so we look forward to better understanding the regulatory implications of this reinforced cooperation,” the MEDREG Secretary General said.

Ellinas noted that the main benefit of this and the other tripartite meetings with Egypt, Israel and Lebanon is the promotion of security, peace and prosperity in the East Med region. “This is good for the countries but also for Europe, with Cyprus and Greece acting as a bridge between these countries and Europe,” he said.

“Good relations also aid the development of hydrocarbons from the political viewpoint, by facilitating any required inter-governmental agreements, but not the commercial,” Ellinas said, adding that Cyprus and Israel are stuck in terms of exports because of the low global gas prices. Egypt is forging ahead, and spearheaded by the development of the giant ENI-operated Zohr offshore field it relies completely on its own resources, he concluded.

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