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EU 28 asks working group to expedite sanctions’ list on Turkey’s illegal drilling

January 21, 2020 at 8:36am
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The EU 28 Foreign Affairs Ministers decided to task RELEX, the relevant Council Working Group, to expedite the compilation of the list of persons and entities subject to the EU sanctions concerning Turkey’s the illegal drilling operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

Μore specifically the High Representative stated the following: “In light of the new Turkish illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus, the Council invites the relevant Working Party to expedite and finalize its work as regards the listings of natural persons and entities involved in the aforesaid illegal activities”.

The High Representative presided over the regular FAC meeting and informed the Press in Brussels that the discussion was concluded without decisions but with appropriate preparations for the next steps of the EU in parallel with the implementation of the decisions of the Berlin Conference on Libya. .

“We discussed Libya but no decisions,” emphasized Borell, welcoming the outcome of the Berlin conference, where “the whole Security Council was involved”.

He stressed that “we are in a truce, but not even a complete ceasefire” and said that both sides have appointed five negotiators that will agree on the ceasefire. However, ceasefire is not a prerequisite for launching an EU operation to oversee the enforcement of the arms embargo, such as the Sofia operation. The Sofia operation is to be re-activated, but as explained by Borell, with a redefinition of its mission.

Borrell emphasized that the Ministers were briefed and exchanged information and appointed working groups dealing with individual aspects of the issue with the mandate to reach an outcome ahead of the next Foreign Affairs Council.

Meanwhile, President Nicos Anastasiades said Nicosia was continuing with its diplomatic and legal actions in order to contain Turkey’s unprecedented behaviour.

The President was asked to comment on Turkey’s recent unlawful actions in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone. An announcement by the Presidency of the Republic says that the President replied that “unfortunately, they [the Turks] continue to violate international law and of course, we continue with our efforts, through diplomatic and legal actions, in order to be able to contain this unprecedented behaviour.”

Asked if tougher EU measures are required against Turkey, the President of Cyprus said that he did not wish to create false hopes or convey a sense that Europe is ready to undertake such measures, at least for the time being.

“We will continue with the same determination to both implement the energy programme and issue démarches on all directions, with the hope that if they [the Turks] want peace, if they want a Cyprus settlement, they will have to abide by the rules of international law” the President said.

Asked to comment on information, that a French aircraft carrier sails in the region in response to Turkey’s provocations, the President replied that France is undoubtedly playing a leading role in efforts to placate or contain Turkey’s actions, he said however that he did not wish to comment further.

(Cyprus News Agency)