Cypriot president to visit Egypt to discuss oil exploitation

Cyprus and Egypt will sign agreements, including for the exploration and joint exploitation of oil reserves, during a visit to Cairo this week by President Tassos Papadopoulos, a senior government official said Wednesday.

Papadopoulos will travel to Egypt Wednesday for a three-day official visit, the first by a Cypriot head of state since 1966.

The Cypriot government said it will sign five agreements, including one for the joint exploitation of oil reserves along the line separating the two countries' exclusive economic zones. Others include Cyprus' participation in the proceeds from the exploitation of potential oil reserves in the island's sea area, and cooperation for the production of electricity and renewable energy sources.

He did not provide any further details about the agreements except to say they were important for Cyprus, the Ap reports.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview published Wednesday that Egypt and Cyprus will sign an agreement during the visit for the extraction and production of natural gas, thought to be located off the coast of the island.

Last year, Egypt and Cyprus signed a provisional deal to share technical know-how and expertise in areas where the two countries have mutual interests.

Although the size of Cyprus' oil and gas reserves are not known, former Trade and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis has claimed in the past that 6 billion to 8 billion barrels of oil could be lying in the sea surrounding Cyprus.