Italy reiterated on Wednesday its full solidarity with Cyprus regarding Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities in Eastern Mediterranean. A joint press release issued by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and Italy, following today’s meeting between Ministers Nicos Christodoulides and Luigi Di Maio, in Rome also notes that the delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue, with respect for international law.
The two Ministers also agreed on the need to expedite the implementation of the decision of the EU, finalizing the listings on the regime of restrictive measures targeting those who are responsible for or involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.
According to the joint press release, Christodoulides and Di Maio discussed their excellent bilateral relations, Libya crisis, migration, the most recent developments in Eastern Mediterranean and energy related issues.
“Recalling the Conclusions of the European Council of October and December 2019, Italy reiterated its full solidarity with Cyprus on Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities in Eastern Mediterranean, completely disregarding Cyprus` sovereignty and sovereign rights” it is added.
Moreover, it is noted that the two Ministers, welcoming the invitation by the Government of Cyprus to negotiate with Turkey made last summer, agreed that delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of International Law and in accordance with the principle of good neighbourly relations.
With reference to the memorandum of understanding signed by Libya and Turkey on the delimitation of the continental shelf, the Ministers reiterated that it is unacceptable, it infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, it does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states. “It is only through a genuine and good faith cooperation, that natural resources in the Mediterranean will benefit all peoples living in the region” the announcement says.
Recently, Turkey dispatched its drillship, Yavuz, to conduct a drilling operation off the southern coast of Cyprus, which remains 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.