News Local Cyprus’ energy policy in line with international law, Spokesman says

Cyprus’ energy policy in line with international law, Spokesman says

The Republic of Cyprus develops its energy policy on the basis of international law, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Friday, while noting that block 7 is part of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus.

Prodromou was asked to comment on an announcement, issued on Thursday by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, claiming that part of EEZ block 7 belonged to Turkey’s continental shelf while saying that Ankara would not allow any foreign country, company or vessel to engage in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities there.

The Republic of Cyprus will continue its energy program together with licensed companies, Prodromou replied, while calling on Turkey to respect international law.

“The Republic of Cyprus acts and develops its energy policy on the basis of international law, through agreements that have been made with all neighboring countries regarding the delimitation of the EEZ and of course in cooperation with very big companies, which are active on an international level, always on the basis of international law” the Spokesman said.

He also noted that the things which are being said at times by the government of Turkey “do not enlighten us about Turkey’s reply to a proposal by the Cyprus government to delineate the EEZ among us through negotiations and on the basis of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

Regarding Turkey’s claims in EEZ block 7, Prodromou said that these contradict the convergences that have been reached a long time ago in negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, which agree that UNCLOS will be enforced.

Asked about the departure of Turkish drill-ship “Yavuz”, which remained anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast since July 8, the Spokesman referred to the importance of terminating illegal activities on the part of Turkey, both on land and at sea, in order to be able to resume negotiations.

Prodromou also said that the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, was departing for New York, in order to attend and address the UN General Assembly, and also meet with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Moreover, he welcomed a recent statement by Guterres regarding the conclusion of the terms of reference. He said that the President of Cyprus has demonstrated good will towards this initiative since the beginning, while Turkey intervened in an effort to cancel this process of concluding the terms of reference.

Guterres has been clear, calling on all parties, including Turkey, to cooperate and allow for the conclusion of the terms of reference, that are a prerequisite for the resumption of settlement talks, Prodromou added.

He also said that the President of Cyprus would meet with the Representatives of the permanent member states of the Security Council and “we will probably know better what the continuation of Guterres’ initiative with Lute will be” he said, referring to the UN Secretary-General’s envoy tasked with concluding the terms of reference together with the two sides.

Referring to a telephone conversation on Friday between President Anastasiades and Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prodromou said that the two sides coordinated action ahead of New York. He added that they agreed to that after the “crucial meeting” of the Greek Premier with the Turkish President in New York, President Anastasiades will meet with Premier Mitsotakis in an effort to update their joint plans and coordination.

Asked if Cyprus would protest Turkish actions in the fenced-off part of Famagusta, Prodromou replied that President Anastasiades intends to address all issues during his speech at the General Assembly. Certainly, the role and actions of Turkey aiming to obstruct developments will become apparent, the Spokesman concluded.

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.  Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast since July 8, operating within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus. The ship withdrew to Turkish territorial waters on September 17.

In response, EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Varosha is the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, often described as ‘ghost town’. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.

Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met with the refusal of the Turkish side, despite numerous decisions and resolutions by the UN, EU and other international institutions.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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