Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani (left) Chairman, Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Phidias Pilides, exchanging documents yesterday. (Kammutty VP)
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: The visiting President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, yesterday announced that during his stay in Qatar, he has witnessed the signing of four strategic agreements to enhance bilateral economic cooperation, especially in the filed of energy.
Cyprus, aiming at exploiting and monetising its recently found huge hydrocarbon reserves, is seeking Qatar’s energy expertise and investments. The European island-nation, over the last 10 years, has inked more than a dozen agreements with Qatar to enhance ties in host of sectors.
“Cyprus is offering an open invitation to Qatar to invest in various promising sectors of our economy, including energy. Cypriot businessmen are also looking forward to investing in Qatar,” Anastasiades told The Peninsula on the sidelines of the Cyprus-Qatar Business Forum.
Anastasiades said: “During my current visit we have signed four important agreements with Qatar for cooperation in the field of energy, natural resources, education and research and development.”
Qatar was the first country in the Arabian Gulf region to have a Cypriot embassy, which was opened in 2003. Since then, the two countries have developed fruitful and close cooperation. “Since the time we have started enhancing our relationships with Qatar, we have singed nearly 15 treaties, and I believe that we are doing much better than any other country,” he added. “There are a lot of untapped areas of cooperation between our two countries, such as tourism, real estate, culture, education and healthcare business.”
Present were Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar Chamber, Giorgos Lakkotrypis, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Cyprus, Christodoulos Angastiniotis, Chairman of Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, and many prominent businessmen.
“We really look up to what Qatar has done with its oil and gas industry like the way it has developed and managing its resources for the current and future generations,” said Lakkotrypis. He said: “We want to exchange know-how and other energy expertise from Qatar. We also want to understand how Qatar has moved in this regard.”
Asked about Qatar’s response on investing in Cyprus, the minister said: “There is a lot of interest. It is a possibility that Qatar will be investing in as the opportunities are opening up. We will be exchanging more views and information shortly, and I hope that it will soon be materialised.”
However, he noted that no specific agreements have been singed for investment so far as both sides are still working on the same.
On the volume of natural gas reserves in Cyprus, Lakkotrypis said: “It is difficult to provide the exact size of the reserves, but according to some estimates, we have proven reserves of about 43 trillion cubic feet, and a lot more is certainly coming.”
“There are a lot of investment opportunities in Cyprus and the Qatari businessmen are aware about it. Today we signed an agreement with Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry to facilitate bilateral cooperation and investments,” said Sheikh Khalifa.