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President to raise Turkish provocations at informal European Council

May 5, 2019 at 8:00am

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades is expected to raise at the informal European Council the issue of Turkish provocations in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in light of Turkey’s attempt to drill off the island’s western coast.

According to diplomatic sources, Nicosia focuses its efforts within the framework of the European Union, to deal with Ankara’s moves in maritime areas within Cypriot jurisdiction. Nicosia started to plan ahead a long time ago, in a bid to force Ankara pay the cost for its actions.

As CNA learns, President Anastasiades is expected to discuss the issue in detail with his European partners, when he attends the informal European Council in Sibiu, Romania, on May 9.

Turkish moves were not unexpected, with Nicosia preparing to address them in cooperation with the EU, as the quick reaction on the part of Brussels suggests.

In a statement on Saturday, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini called on Turkey to refrain from illegal actions in Cyprus’ EEZ, to which “the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.”Other countries also reacted immediately, including Greece, Russia and Egypt.

The Cypriot authorities were informed about the itinerary of the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, which started its course on Thursday midnight, towards an area off the western coast of Cyprus. Nicosia keeps its communication channels open with the five permanent members of the Security Council, EU member states and neighboring countries. The Foreign Minister is also in contact with counterparts from various countries and on Tuesday he travels to Paris for contacts.

The Foreign Ministry considers a series of legal, diplomatic and political measures, many of which are already being in force since the end of 2017.

The same sources also note Nicosia’s satisfaction over the recent discussion of the matter at the Security Council, where Cypriot positions were met with understanding.

Turkey issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. “Fatih”, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area is within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

(Cyprus News Agency)