Cyprus satisfied with EU solidarity on its standoff with Turkey over gas exploration

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A spokesman with the Cypriot government has said that Cyprus is fully satisfied with a European Union (EU) Summit decision on denouncing Turkey’s actions to prevent a drillship from exploring natural gas off Cyprus as illegal.

“There has been a clear-cut, collective and decisive reaction by (EU) member-states over the illegal and piratical actions by Turkey in both the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in the Aegean,” Victor Papadopoulos told state radio.

While addressing journalists on Friday night after a two-day unofficial summit in Brussels, EU Council President Donald Tusk accused Ankara of being in “illegal violations” by preventing drilling on behalf of Italian ENI, and called on Turkey to “terminate these activities”.

“I reiterate our support for the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources, in accordance with EU and international law,” Tusk said.

Cyprus confirmed on Friday that Italian ENI energy company has postponed a planned drilling for natural gas after a Turkish warship prevented its drillship from proceeding to its target twice in two weeks.

Cyprus said it possessed video and sound evidence showing a standoff on Friday morning between the drillship “Saipem” and a Turkish warship.

Cyprus has protested the Turkish violation to its sovereign rights to the United Nations Secretary General after the incidents.

Turkey, however said that it was defending the interests of Turkish Cypriots, who are co-owners of Cyprus’ natural resources.

But Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades argued that the rights of Turkish Cypriots are fully safeguarded under an agreement reached years ago.

He said the wealth from natural gas will be managed by a future federal Cyprus government in which Turkish Cypriots will share power, and will be divided in an equitable way between the two communities.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he awaits a joint approach by the two communities to restart the negotiations after their collapse last July.

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