Minister Says No Delay in Hydrocarbon Exploitation in Cyprus' Economic Zone

The minister of commerce, industry and tourism, Andonis Paskhalidhis, assured on Tuesday that the technical and scientific work regarding the offshore blocks for the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus continues on schedule and there is no delay in the process.

Replying to a question on the sidelines of Cyprus's International Fair, regarding statements of US Ambassador Frank Urbancic, according to which an American energy firm will begin exploring for oil and gas in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, on the southwest coast of the island.

Paskhalidhis said that Cyprus wants to attract investments from the United States, adding that Americans intend to invest even more in Cyprus, assuring that the works for the exploitation of the mineral wealth of Cyprus is progressing normally.

He pointed out that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from this process.

"The mineral wealth belongs to the Cypriot people," said Paskhalidhis, adding that "if there will be a solution of the Cyprus problem, Turkish Cypriots would benefit as well."

Cyprus's attempt to explore its exclusive economic zone for hydrocarbons caused the reaction of Turkey, which invaded the island in 1974 and continues to occupy its northern third.

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.