Greece has managed to raise awareness among its counterparts and intensify the isolation of Turkey on the issue of exploratory drillings of the Republic of Cyprus in its EEZ during the UN General Assembly, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Stavros Lambrinidis has said.Source: Famagusta Gazette
Speaking to the Parliamentary Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs, on the contacts he made on the sidelines of the 66th UN General Assembly, the minister said that in the absence of arguments, Turkey tried to militarise the debate around the issue and made rhetorical threats.
Lambrinidis said that during his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, they exchanged views on the Cyprus issue and Turkey's behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean. On the same issues he also had meetings with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu.
As he said, in all of his other contacts during the UN General Assembly, he pointed out ''the deep concern of Greece over Turkish actions and statements, that destabilise the situation in a critical period for the entire region of Eastern Mediterranean.''
The Greek Minister reiterated that Nicosia has the sovereign right for exploration and exploitation of its natural wealth, guaranteed under international law, which cannot be questioned by anyone.
He also noted that there were clear statements by the European Union, the United States and Russia on the issue.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.
Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based “Noble Energy”, off Cyprus’ south-eastern coast.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey’s moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.