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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Former PM Siniora: Lebanon ‘respects its obligations and agreements’ ]

Former PM Siniora: Lebanon ‘respects its obligations and agreements’

Author: 
Elias Hazou

LEBANON’S former Prime Minister sought yesterday to downplay any ill feeling, real or implicit, toward Cyprus as a result of the latter’s agreement with Israel demarcating maritime borders.

“Lebanon is a country that respects its obligations and agreements,” Fuad Siniora said, speaking at the Levant Energy Forum in Nicosia.

“We have always had close ties with Cyprus,” he added.

Earlier this week, Lebanon’s new Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said his country had lodged a complaint with the UN regarding the delineation of EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zones) between neighbouring Israel and Cyprus.

Mansour is part of a Hezbollah-dominated government that took office earlier this month after Lebanon went for months without a working government. Local news reports have suggested Turkish pressure is behind Beirut’s tougher stance.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mansour noted that the Cyprus-Israel agreement “is a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty and economic rights and threatens peace and security in the area.”

Solon Kassinis, head of the Energy Service, said yesterday any differences between Cyprus and Lebanon were “not substantive” and could be ironed out through clarifications.

And earlier this week, deputy government spokesman Christos Christofides said Cyprus needed to engage in “careful” diplomatic handling of the matter. He added that Nicosia would gauge which exact point of the agreement Beirut found “vexing.”

Cyprus has signed agreements on its EEZ with Egypt and Israel, as well as Lebanon, though the latter is pending ratification by the Lebanese parliament.

Lebanon claims Israel’s Leviathan gas field, discovered in June 2010, spills over into Lebanese territory, and says that Israel ignores this fact.

Cyprus and Israel signed an agreement last December that defines their maritime borders and allows the two nations to proceed in searching for energy sources in the eastern Mediterranean.

That same month, Siniora explained, Lebanon handed over to the UN the coordinates of their EEZ following the completion of a government-commissioned study. Further, he said that last year Lebanon had addressed a letter to US company Noble Energy, which is drilling Israeli gas finds, saying it would not tolerate any violation of its sovereign rights and resources.

Turkey has also strongly objected to the agreement saying it # has rights and interests in the area.

Siniora said there two contentious points northeast and southwest of Lebanon’s maritime borders, which he said Beirut had proceeded to draw up “unilaterally.” The northeast point concerns Syria and Cyprus, while the southwest one concerns Israel and Cyprus.

Lebanon is a signatory to the Law of the Sea, but Israel is not.

Lebanon refers to the latter as “point 23,” as it lies 23km from Lebanese shores. He said the lack of a trilateral agreement between the Beirut, Tel Aviv and Nicosia was problematic.

In response to a question, Siniora said that, as long as there exists a state of war between Lebanon and Israel, there could never be any hydrocarbon cooperation with Israel.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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