Cyprus' top diplomat: gas finds could partly fund peace deal

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Cyprus' foreign minister says potential offshore gas discoveries could partly fund the cost of reunifying the ethnically divided island as a federation.

Ioannis Kasoulides said Wednesday future gas finds could possibly underwrite funding that would be needed to compensate individuals who — under specific criteria — wouldn't get back properties lost during the 1974 conflict that cleaved the island.

Breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci made a similar remark in an interview with the AP in April.

Kasoulides said newfound gas would also boost Europe's energy security.

A field off Cyprus is estimated to hold over 4 trillion cubic feet of gas. Kasoulides said two large finds in adjacent Egyptian waters recently has reignited international interest for a mineral search in Cypriot waters.