EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell conveyed on Thursday evening the bloc’s commitment to continue supporting the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus amid Turkish violations which the EU condemns.
Borrell met on Thursday evening with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, at the Presidential Palace, and according to a written statement by the Deputy Government Spokesman, Panayiotis Sentonas, they discussed Turkish violations in the maritime zones of the Republic of Cyprus.
The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Defence Minister Savvas Angelides and other officials. Borrell was accompanied by the Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, Ierotheos Papadopoulos.
According to Sentonas, the President of Cyprus informed Borrell about unlawful Turkish actions and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. He also referred to the continuous efforts by the Cyprus government to maintain good neighborly relations with all countries in the region, as well as Cyprus’ commitment to international law. The President expressed moreover concern about Ankara’s expansionist designs, which he said, are fraught with perils for peace and security in the region.
The High Representative expressed the EU commitment to continue supporting the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, Sentonas notes in his statement. He also says that Borrell underlined that the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone are sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus exclusively, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The EU will continue sending clear signals to Ankara, for the respect of international law, and exert pressure for the immediate termination of Turkish violations, the High representative said, noting that he will convey these messages to Ankara personally.
Participants in the meeting also discussed the broader framework of EU-Turkey relations, in light of Turkey’s unacceptable policy and the lack of commitment towards its obligations, Sentonas notes.
The President of Cyprus thanked the High Representative and Commission Vice President for the support and the solidarity he conveyed, reiterating that in order to be effective this solidarity needs to translate into action.
The President informed Borrell about a proposal he made to the Turkish Cypriot leader in relation to natural gas and expressed his readiness to resume talks for a Cyprus settlement the soonest possible.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkish drill ship “Yavuz” arrived last April in the exclusive economic zone (ΕΕΖ) of Cyprus, after Ankara announced another attempt to drill a well in blocks licensed to European companies. This is the 6th time Turkey attempts to drill within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, this time in an area that covers part of exploration blocks 6 and 7, which have been licensed to ENI and TOTAL.
In a statement on May 15, EU Foreign Ministers deplored the fact that Turkey has not yet responded to EU calls to cease such activities and reiterated their call on Ankara to show restraint, refrain from such actions, and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus, in accordance with international law. EU Foreign Ministers also reaffirmed previous Council and European Council conclusions, notably those of June 2019 and October 2019 on Turkey’s continued illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.