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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-09-13

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias on Tuesday called on the international community to respond to any possible unlawful act by Turkey regarding Cyprus right to start oil and gas exploration in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    In a statement to the press following a ministerial meeting on the issue, President Christofias said that Cyprus Republic will press ahead on gas drilling in Block 12 in its EEZ, in the framework of the agreement signed with Houston-based Noble Energy International.

    Cyprus has signed a production-sharing contract with Noble. The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field in Cyprus EEZ, known as Block 12.

    We have decided that Noble Energy will proceed in the forthcoming period with the exploratory drilling in order to find out the quantity and the quality of hydrocarbons, he said.

    President Christofias noted that it is Cyprus sovereign right, based on the international law and the law of sea, to start the gas exploration in its EEZ, underlining that all our decisions and actions so far, stem from the international law and strictly fall into this parameter.

    Cyprus President referred to Turkeys recent threats and statements, in an attempt to question the Republics rights in its EEZ.

    Turkey is causing tension in the region, sending the message that it acts like a troublemaker and violates international norms, President said, adding that the Turkish Cypriot community will benefit from the exploitation in a reunified Cyprus. He also clarified that during the UN led direct talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the community leaders have agreed that the central government of federal Cyprus will deal with all the issues regarding the exploitation of natural gas.

    President also said that the Cyprus government in cooperation and coordination with Greece closely follows the developments and keeps alert.

    We have taken action in the direction of the UN and the EU and on the possibility of Turkey committing an unlawful act, something which we hope will not happen, we will expect a strong and effective response from the international community, President noted.

    He also called on all political parties in Cyprus to remain in unity, announcing that right after his trip to New York for the UN General Assembly, the Informal Council of the leaders of the political parties will convene in order to discuss and assess the situation.

    Turkish Premier Tayip Erdogan has criticized Cyprus right in its EEZ saying that as a guarantor of the rights of northern Cyprus (a breakaway territory recognized only by Turkey) had the right to monitor international waters in the eastern Mediterranean. He also questioned the rights of Israel with whom Cyprus has signed an agreement regarding the EEZ, to explore for natural gas.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and has said it will not talk to Nicosia, when it assumes the rotating six monthly EU Presidency in the second half of 2012.

    The leaders of the two communities, namely President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, are currently engaged in UN-led talks, with an aim to reunify the island under a federal roof.


    Egypt spares no occasion, at all levels, expressing respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, Menha Mahrous Bakhoum, the new Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Nicosia, has said, presenting her credentials to President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias.

    Receiving the credentials, President Christofias said Cyprus counts on the valuable support of Egypt, in the framework of international organisations, towards finding a viable solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN Resolutions, and pointed out that unfortunately, within the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, recent developments as regards Cyprus cause concern.

    He also pointed out the importance that should be given to the implementation of the Framework Agreement for joint development of the cross-median line hydrocarbon resources, which would benefit both countries and peoples.

    Presenting her credentials, Bakhoum said ``the Republic Cyprus, with its geographical location, openness to the outside world and as a member of the EU, had always enjoyed a unique importance, both on the regional and international level, and with all relevant partners,`` adding that ``Egypt and Cyprus, two Mediterranean countries with shared history and culture, had always very special bilateral relations that extend to various fields of cooperation.``


    The role of the Cypriot House of Representatives during Cyprus presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2012 will be very important, House President Yiannakis Omirou has said.

    Speaking at a press conference, during which he presented a review on the work of the Parliament during the last parliamentary period, Omirou said that the House of Representatives will organize a series of important conferences and will promote the priorities set by the Cypriot presidency in the framework of the programme decided with the other two countries participating in the EU trio presidency, which are Poland and Denmark.

    He also said that one of the Parliament`s goals during Cyprus` EU presidency will be to further promote Nicosia`s role as a bridge of dialogue between the EU and the wider Middle East region. During Cyprus presidency, the House of Representatives will host seven conferences in Cyprus as well as one parliamentary meeting in Brussels.

    Moreover, during the first semester of 2013, the Cypriot Parliament will host the Conference of the Presidents of the EU national Parliaments.


    Former National Guard Chief of Staff Petros Tsalikides, suspended Cyprus Fire Service Chief Officer Andreas Nicolaou and Cyprus Fire Service Lieutenant Michalis Theophilou appeared on Tuesday before a commission of inquiry which has been holding public hearings concerning the deadly blast at the Evangelos Florakis naval base, near Limassol.

    Following the blast, on July 11, the government appointed a commission of inquiry, headed by lawyer Polis Polyviou, to investigate the circumstances that led to the massive explosion of munitions, which killed 13 people and destroyed the islands main power station. The commission will also look into possible political responsibilities.

    The blast occurred in containers full of munitions, which Cyprus stored at the naval base, after confiscating the load from Monchegorsk, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009. Cyprus was acting according to UN Security Council resolutions, imposing sanctions.

    Tsalikides, who resigned after the blast, said he had done everything in his power, within the remit of his duties, to warn about possible dangers, adding that the decision on how to deal with the containers was a political one.

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