5.45pm: News in from Athens where Helena Smith, our correspondent, says cash-starved Greece has vowed it will step up cooperation with Israel and Cyprus on the grand search for natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean basin.
Greek officials have not hidden their hope that the discovery of as yet unexploited natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean will help release the debt-stricken country from its economic mess. “We are entering a new period,” George Papaconstantinou, the country’s energy ministry who formerly held the finance portfolio, said in a radio interview today.
“It seems that we have some [hydrocarbon] deposits. “We are not Norway and we are not going to become Saudi Arabia and I don’t think all of our economic problem is going to be solved with it, but Greece has more deposits that anyone believed until recently and is in a region that is now being “discovered” by international companies,” he said.