The UK deplores Turkish drilling in the waters around Cyprus and continues to call for de-escalation, a spokesperson of the British High Commission in Nicosia told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) when invited to comment on Turkey’s new attended illegal drilling in the southern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, in exploration block 8.
“The UK has been clear from the start that we deplore Turkish drilling in the waters around Cyprus. We continue to call for de-escalation. The UK has consistently stated our support for the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign right to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone,” the British High Commission spokesperson said.
We believe, he added, that “the most enduring way of resolving difficult issues such as this is to achieve a Cyprus settlement. We encourage all parties to redouble their efforts in pursuit of this.”
“We continue to believe Cyprus’ oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots,” the spokesperson concluded.
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”.
“This new attempted drilling constitutes yet another flagrant violation of the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as the relevant customary International Law, and completely disregards the international EEZ delimitation agreements already in force between Cyprus and Israel, and Cyprus and Egypt, respectively,” a statement issued by the Presidency of Cyprus has said.