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Italy concerned over ‘Yavuz’ operations, requests respect of Cyprus’ sovereign rights

October 6, 2019 at 8:53am
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Italy has expressed concern about the illegal operations of Turkish drill ship “Yavuz” within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and hope that “Turkey will revert to a more constructive stance as soon as possible.”

“Italy is concerned about the illegal operations carried out by the Turkish vessel Yavuz in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, south of the island,” a press release issued on Saturday by the Italian Foreign Ministry said and added: “We reiterate our request to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus and to refrain from illegal actions in the area.”

The press release further recalled that “in July, the Foreign Affairs Council decided political measures to respond to the Turkish initiatives in the Eastern Mediterranean, in full solidarity with Cyprus” and that “it also decided to remain seized of the matter.”

“With our partners, we have chosen a firm yet gradual and reversible approach to create the conditions for a de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea,” the Italian Foreign Ministry noted.

“We sincerely hope that this outcome is still possible, and we hope that Turkey will revert to a more constructive stance as soon as possible,” the press release concluded.

According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship “Yavuz”, which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7, has been licensed by the Government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.

“Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.

Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.

Cyprus has called on drill ship “Yavuz” and her supporting vessels  to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.

A navigational telex (navtex),  published on  the  website of the Zenon Coordination Centre of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.

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.  Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

(Cyprus News Agency)