Lebanon’s hosting of a key Cypriot Cabinet minister this week must have optimists in both countries hoping that in politics, at least, there really is no such thing as coincidence. Both sides have long experience with the various discomforts associated with being buffeted by outside forces, but only rarely – if ever – have both had so much to gain by joining forces to ride out the storm.


The minister in question was George Lakkotrypis, holder of the powerful Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism portfolio in the recently installed government, and while diplomatic sources were quoted as saying the visit was mostly “symbolic,” there is reason to believe that what it presages could be very concrete indeed. Both Cyprus and Lebanon are just a few years from becoming producers of natural gas, and while their opening positions and respective approaches have thus far been different, each is looking increasingly like the other’s best friend.


Their relatively large banking system having been crippled by exposure to the meltdown in Greece, the Cypriots had to request a bailout and are still emerging from a bruising encounter with the so-called “troika” of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. [Link]