June 27, 2008

Greece, Cyprus Sign Agreement on Transporting Water

Text of report in English by Greek Cypriot news agency CNA

Athens, 26 June: Cyprus and Greece signed [on] Thursday [26 June] an agreement providing for the transportation of 8m cubic metres of water to Cyprus, which this year is facing a serious problem of water shortage.

The agreement was signed in Athens by the Cypriot minister of agriculture, natural resources and environment, Mikhalis Polinikis, and the Greek minister of environment, physical planning and public works, Yeoryios Souflias.

In statements to the press after the signing ceremony, the Cypriot minister expressed the gratitude of the Cypriot president, the government and the people of Cyprus towards Greece for responding immediately to ease the problem.

He also thanked the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EIDAP) and Hellenic Petroleum for providing the necessary infrastructure which will allow the transportation of water.

"Cyprus never forgets and we will always be by your side in difficult times," he pledged.

Describing the water problem in Cyprus as "very serious and tragic", Polinikis said that the "water resources since assuming office, four months ago, were by far lower than our needs until the end of the year; they were 17m cubic metres instead of 66-70m".

He explained that the whole island, and not just a specific district, will benefit from the water from Greece.

The transportation of the water has been assigned to the Ocean Tankers company, with the use of six tankers.

In his statements, the Greek minister wished Greece could be able to send more water to Cyprus but noted that at this stage Greece can only supply Cyprus with 8m cubic metres.

But he added, "We will examine whether we can send more quantities of water."

The Greek minister said that Cyprus buys the water from the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company at the same price the Greek islands of Cyclades in the Aegean Sea pay.

All expenses for the transportation of the water have been undertaken by the government of Cyprus, Souflias concluded.

Originally published by Cyprus News Agency, Nicosia, in English 1500 26 Jun 08.

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