Cyprus Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides has asked for the substantive contribution of the US so that Turkey terminates its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean that violate the international law and Cyprus’ sovereign rights, during a meeting he had on Thursday in Nicosia with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Francis Fannon. The US official left later on the same day and travelled to Turkey where he will hold contacts with officials.
According to a CNA source, Christodoulides and Fannon discussed about Turkey’s illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and how those affect, among others, the US interests.
The same source told CNA, that Christodoulides asked during his meeting with Fannon, for the US substantive contribution towards the termination of Turkey’s activities, noting that these activities affecting Cyprus and the broader region create tension and instability.
The US official will visit Egypt after Turkey.
Fannon addressed on Wednesday a 3+1 technical group meeting, in Nicosia, along with Cyprus’ Energy Minister, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis. In statements, Fannon said that energy resources are a catalyst for broader cooperation and that the United States remain committed at the highest level. He reiterated moreover the US position with respect to Cyprus’ offshore exploration and exploitation activities, saying that “we support the Republic of Cyprus to develop its resources in its EEZ” the revenues of which could be used for both communities, in the context of an overall settlement.
The 3+1 cooperation mechanism for energy matters was inaugurated during a Summit in Jerusalem, in March last year, between the leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel, in the presence of State Secretary Mike Pompeo. During a meeting in Athens, last August, Energy Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel and the US Assistant Secretary of State identified several key areas of common interest and agreed to set up four specialized technical working groups.
Turkey has dispatched drillship Yavuz to conduct a drilling operation off the south of the island of Cyprus, that has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks for a Cyprus settlement have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
The Cyprus government has condemned Turkey’s newly planned illegal drilling within the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that Turkey, provocatively ignoring the repeated calls by the international community and the European Union, to terminate its illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ, is now attempting to carry out a “new illegal drilling in the southern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, inside exploration block 8, which was duly licensed to the European companies ENI and TOTAL”.
(Cyprus News Agency)