Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is legally and politically protected, Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said on Thursday, while calling for national unity in order to counter Turkey’s expansionist policy.
Speaking to CNA, Koushos also said that the actions of Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides are in line with the instructions of the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, while the Minister enjoys the President’s full confidence.
Asked about Thursday’s statements in Greek state television regarding the information Turkey seems to possess on EEZ block 8, the Spokesman said that he incorrectly said that Turkey intercepted the information. He also clarified that Nicosia does not suspect the two licensed companies, ENI and Total, to have leaked the data to Ankara.
Turkish drill ship Yavuz arrived last weekend in Cyprus’ EEZ block 8, south of Limassol, which is licensed by the Republic of Cyprus to ENI and Total to conduct drilling operations.
The Spokesman noted that all actions by Turkey indicate that it has certain information leading Yavuz to this particular spot. He also noted that the Turkish research vessel Barbaros also scanned the area for almost two years.
Asked if Turkey utilized information from reports that were made public in the past in a government website, Koushos replied that he cannot know if Turkey used these data.
Koushos said that the EEZ is legally and politically protected. He referred in particular to bilateral agreements signed with a number of countries, for the delimitation of the EEZ.
He also said that the EEZ enjoys political protection, though trilateral agreements, the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on the EastMed pipeline and the support Nicosia enjoys vis-a-vis Turkish unlawful actions from a range of regional countries, the EU, Russia, the US and Britain.
The Spokesman said moreover that actions of the Foreign Minister are in line with the instructions of the President of the Republic, and asserted that the two men have excellent relations, with the Minister being regarded by the President as one of his closest associates.
Koushos called moreover everyone to focus on the substance, which he said is “Turkey’s attack on the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and its exclusive economic zone.” National unity and cooperation are necessary in order to counter Turkey’s expansionist policy, the Spokesman added.
He said moreover that apart from diplomatic manoeuvres, the President of Cyprus informs his counterparts on Turkish violations, on the occasion of his side meetings during the 5th World Holocaust Forum, in Jerusalem.
The issue was recently raised by the Foreign Minister during the Council of Ministers of the EU, in Brussels, Koushos went on, adding that all necessary actions are being taken on this matter.
The Spokesman said that Francis Fannon, US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, is also expected to visit Cyprus soon. At the same time the visit of State Secretary Mike Pompeo is being rescheduled. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is also expected to pay a visit to Cyprus, but the date has not been finalised yet, he concluded.
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.