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Italy condemns Turkey’s intrusion in Cyprus’ EEZ, will support Cyprus in European Council

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has condemned the violation of Cyprus’ sovereign rights and of international law by Turkey expressing his country’s full solidarity with Cyprus, in a telephone conversation he had Wednesday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

A written statement of Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou says that “the President informed the Italian Prime Minister extensively about Turkey’s ongoing illegal actions and intrusion in a licensed block in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus and they exchanged views over ways to address the Turkish provocations and violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus”.

According to the Spokesman, “Mr. Conte reiterated his country’s position, clearly condemning the violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and of international law by Turkey and expressed Italy’ full solidarity with Cyprus, reasserting that he will maintain this position at the forthcoming summit of the European Council”.

According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship “Yavuz”, which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7 has been licensed by the government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.

“Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.

Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” has been 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.

Cyprus has called on drill ship “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.

A navigational telex (navtex), published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels that they will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.

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.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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