The rich oil and gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean contain an enormous potential for conflict. For one, a conflict is looming between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, on the one side, and the Greek-Cypriot dominated Republic of Cyprus. At the same time, there are tensions between Lebanon and Israel over the use of these resources, which Cyprus might get dragged into.
The close cooperation between the Republic of Cyprus and Israel in the field of energy might be enhanced by a security component with potential regional repercussions. It seems that the discovery of gas has made the occurrence of crises and conflicts more likely. Additionally, the long drawn-out progress in the Turkish EU accession talks is strongly affected by the Cyprus dispute, which in turn makes the EU an important actor in the Cyprus question.
On the other hand, the gas discoveries could eventually contribute to overcoming the political and economic problems as well as become a major catalyst in the reconciliation process. Thus, the FES focuses on conflict prevention on both the local and regional levels as well as the strengthening of the peace process, addressing all relevant actors. An equally important component regarding the utilisation of the resources is the promotion of good governance and best practice.
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