Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, France and the United Arab Emirates denounced on Monday the ongoing Turkish illegal activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus and its territorial waters, noting that they represent a clear violation of the international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and that this is the sixth attempt by Turkey in less than a year to illegally conduct drilling operations in Cyprus’ maritime zones.
Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides participated on Monday afternoon in a teleconference meeting with his counterparts of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, Greece, Nikos Dendias and France, Jean-Yves Le Drian. The teleconference took place, according to a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry, in the framework of the “3 + 1” formula and follows the Cairo Meeting that took place on January 8, 2020. It was also attended for the first time by the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
A Declaration adopted by the FMs said that “building upon prior consultations and regular coordination between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece along with France within the framework of the “3 + 1″ formula; The Foreign Ministers of these countries, joined by their counterpart from the UAE, held a teleconference meeting on May 11, 2020, to discuss the latest worrying developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as a number of regional crises that threaten peace and stability in this region.”
Furthermore it noted that the Ministers stressed the strategic importance of enhancing and intensifying their political consultations, and commended the outcome of the Cairo meeting on January 8th, 2020, for enhancing security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and expressed their deepest concern over the current escalation and continuous provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“The Ministers denounced the ongoing Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and its territorial waters, as they represent a clear violation of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is the sixth attempt by Turkey in less than a year to illegally conduct drilling operations in Cyprus’ maritime zones,” the Declaration said.
Moreover, “the Ministers also condemned the escalation of Turkey’s violations of the Greek national airspace, including over flights of inhabited areas and territorial waters in violation of International Law.
Furthermore, the Ministers condemned the instrumentalization of civilians by Turkey in an attempt to illegally cross Greek land borders as well as its continued support for illegal crossings of Greek sea boundaries”.
Also the Ministers urged Turkey to fully respect the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of all States in their maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Ministers reiterated that the Memorandum of Understanding on the Delimitation of the Maritime Jurisdiction Areas in the Mediterranean, and the Memorandum of Understanding on Security and Military Cooperation signed in November 2019 between Turkey and Fayez El Saraj, are respectively in contravention of international law and the UN arms embargo in Libya, and that both undermine regional stability.
The Ministers recalled that the Memorandum of Understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea infringes upon the sovereign rights of third States, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third States.
According to the Declaration, the Ministers deeply regretted the escalation of hostilities in Libya and recalled the commitment to refrain from any military foreign intervention in Libya as agreed in the conclusions of the Berlin conference. In this regard, the Ministers strongly condemned Turkey’s military interference in Libya, and urged Turkey to fully respect the UN arms embargo, and to stop the influx of foreign fighters from Syria to Libya. These developments constitute a threat to the stability of Libya’s neighbours in Africa as well as in Europe.
The Ministers also called on the Libyan parties to observe a truce during the holy month of Ramadan and stressed their commitment to work towards a comprehensive political solution to the Libyan crisis under the auspices of the United Nations, and expressed their keenness for the resumption of the meetings of the three tracks of the Berlin process (Political, military, economic and financial).
The Ministers agreed to continue their consultations on a regular basis.
According to the press release issued by the Foreign Ministry the five participant countries are expected to intensify the coordination of their actions with a view to achieve conditions of security, stability and cooperation in the broader Mediterranean region, to defend the international law and the implementation of the UN Security Council relevant resolutions, including the respect and full implementation of the provisions of the international Law of the Sea Convention.
Turkish drillship arrived last month in Cyprus` EEZ to illegally drill in an area that covers part of exploration blocks 6 and 7, which have been licensed to the ENI and TOTAL consortium.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.