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Nicosia, Oct 30 (IANS) Cyprus, Greece and Egypt Wednesday moved closer to forging a common strategy on energy, security and regional issues.
Foreign ministers Ioannis Kasoulides from Cyprus, Evangelos Venizelos from Greece and Sameh Hassan Shoukry from Egypt met here and agreed a summit would be held in Cairo in 11 days.
Presidents Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, Abdel Fatah al Sisi of Egypt, and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras are to meet in the Egyptian capital Nov 8 to finalise and ratify the tripartite cooperation agreement.
In a first action of their common strategy, the governments of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt condemned Turkey for sending warships and a seismic data ship to chart gas deposits in an area claimed by Cyprus as its own exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus was divided into ethnic Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parts after Turkish military action in 1974 in response to a coup by officers of the military junta then ruling Greece.
Turkey claims sovereign rights in a marine area south of Cyprus in which Cypriot authorities have issued concessions to several foreign energy companies for natural gas and oil exploration, according to media reports.
Cypriot specialists said that the area of the eastern Levantine basin contains up to 62 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that could be an alternative source of energy for European countries, now dependent of Russian gas.
Turkey reacted to the start of the drilling by announcing it was sending Barbaros seismic vessel for exploration which will last until December.
Cyprus has also concluded agreements with Israel and Egypt for joint development of gas deposits lying on the borderlines of their respective exclusive economic zones.