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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-09-29

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The US has made it clear that Cyprus has the sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural resources, following representations by Nicosia regarding earlier statements by a State Department spokesperson who had indicated that UN mediation would be welcomed with regard to revenue sharing from possible oil reserves.

    Washington pointed out that securing energy supplies is a positive development and noted that increased energy supply from Cyprus would also be positive.

    These remarks came in the wake of statements and counterstatements by Cyprus, Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots, the US and others relating to the start of drilling, by an American company for oil and natural gas reserves off Cyprus southeastern coast, within the Republics exclusive economic zone.

    Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland on Wednesday said that Washington is interested in the proposal for UN mediation of revenue-sharing, as regards the exploitation of oil reserves off Cyprus south-eastern coast.

    Nuland called for de-escalation of the tension and rhetoric on dispute and commitment to UN process for Cyprus reconciliation.

    Nulands statement followed a statement by UN Secretary General Special Adviser Alexander Downer on Tuesday that if the two sides (Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot) came together and asked us to play some sort of mediating role (in the controversy), the SG would have a look at that and wed discuss it and look at what we could do.

    Downers statement sparked a reaction in Cyprus, where the government and the political parties condemned the statement, saying that UN role is to facilitate the peace talks and not to mediate.

    Special Adviser Downer on Wednesday said that his statement was lost in translation.

    Cyprus Ambassador in Washington Pavlos Anastasiades on Wednesday acted on this front, requesting clarifications on Nulands statements. According to diplomatic sources, Washington reiterated its position that Cyprus has a sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural resources, adding also that there would be a correction on Nulands initial statement.

    During the State Departments Regular Briefing on Wednesday, Nuland was asked about the presence of a Turkish seismic research ship close to Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone where the American company Noble Energy is drilling for oil reserves.

    Invited specifically to say whether Washington will raise the issue to the Turkish government and how it views the tension in the region, she said that we continue to support the UN-led mediation on Cyprus, and we discourage any rhetoric or action that could negatively affect a peaceful settlement.

    She went on to say that there has recently been a request for the UN to engage in some sort of mediation on a revenue-sharing agreement for natural gas developed off Cyprus, and we understand that the UN is considering that request, and we would consider that it would be quite constructive if the two communities could begin to work on deescalating tensions in a way similar to that.

    Replying to another question, Nuland said that we want to see a peaceful settlement of this issue under UN mediation. We want to see the islands resources shared between the communities. We are interested in this proposal for UN mediation of revenue-sharing. Overall, though, we would like to see a de-escalation of rhetoric and tension so that the UN process can move forward in a good environment.

    Invited to comment on EU Enlargement Commissioners suggestion that the issue is brought before the International Court of Justice, she said that we would support some sort of mediation but we need a resolution of these long-standing Cyprus issues under the UN auspices.

    Asked whether there is any difference between UN, EU and US approach on the matter, Nuland said that if there is a dispute reconciliation resolution mechanism that could be agreed on by all concerned parties, that would ensure that the communities were able to share the resources. That would be something that we would be supportive of. But again, were pleased to see that people are talking about resolving this dispute peacefully, deescalating the rhetoric, and more generally, putting our energy into supporting the UN process for Cyprus reconciliation.

    Later on Wednesday night, Cyprus Ambassador in Washington Pavlos Anastasiades sought clarifications from the Department of State on Nulands statements.

    Diplomatic sources told CNA that the US has reassured that Nulands statements do not reflect Washingtons stance on the issue and that there would be a correction.

    The US also said that the American government supports Cyprus sovereign right to explore and exploit for natural resources in its EEZ, expressing also concern on the presence of Turkish warships in the region.

    CNA contacted a senior official in the US Department of State, requesting further clarification on the statements Nuland made.

    Our policy has not changed, he told CNA, and referring to two recent Department of State briefings on September 9 and September 19.

    On September 9, in the daily press briefing, Spokesperson Victoria Nuland had said: We re obviously aware of the Turkish Government position on this issue. With regard to the U.S. Government position on this issue, we strongly support efforts by both Cypriot parties to reunify the island into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We believe that securing energy supplies through better energy diversity is of value to all of the people of Cyprus and of value to the region. We have a U.S. company involved, Noble Energy. And we believe this a positive thing, and that energy diversity in Europe, including increased energy supply from Cyprus, would be a positive.

    On September 19, a Senior Administration Official, following Secretary of State Hilaray Clintons meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, said: They talked about Cyprus and the Secretary reiterated our commitment to the Cyprus settlement, to the current UN talks direct talks that are underway under UN auspices. There are issues as you know regarding energy development, gas exploration. The United States supports Cypruss right to explore for energy, it doesnt believe that should undermine or interfere with the talks and agrees with all of those who believe that the best way to sort out the question of energy and economic development is through a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus northern part since they invaded in 1974, is the only country in the world, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its EEZ, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and signed an agreement with the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus, delineating what they call continental shelf.

    Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based Noble Energy, off Cyprus south-eastern coast.

    The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkeys moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any profit that may come from oil drilling.

    Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.

    UN-led talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus are currently underway in order to reach a negotiated settlement that would reunify the island.


    Communications and Works Minister Efthimios Flourentzos, in a message on the occasion of World Maritime Day celebrated Thursday, said that in 2010, a total of 489 cases of modern day piracy have occurred, according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), compared to 406 in 2009.

    He said two seafarers have been murdered, 30 were injured and 1,027 were taken hostage, adding that the number of ships seized reached 57. At the end of June 2011, he said, 22 ships and 462 seafarers were taken hostage by pirates.

    The escalation of piracy greatly worries the maritime community and through the IMO that has made piracy is main aim, everyone involved, the UN, governments, maritime organizations and companies, have a great role in combating piracy, the minister noted.

    Flourentzos said the IMO, as a manifestation of its overall concern about safeguarding human life at sea, has chosen, as the theme for this years World Maritime Day, to highlight the efforts it has been making, over several years, to meet the challenges of modern-day piracy and, in so doing, generate a broader, global response to eradicate it.


    An American Congressman has praised the dedication of the President of Cyprus in efforts to find a political settlement, saying Demetris Christofias is diligently working towards a solution that would be agreeable to everybody.

    In statements after a meeting with the President, member of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Dan Burton said that President Christofias gave him a very thorough briefing on the problems in Cyprus, expressing the hope that things work out in the not too distant future so everybody will be happy with the outcome.

    It is a very difficult situation that they have been dealing with for a long time and they are working hard on it and we wish them the very best, he added.

    Replying to questions, he said he was briefed on the recent Turkish actions in Cyprus` EEZ and hydrocarbon explorations, noting that he has also met the Prime Minister of Turkey with whom he discussed the issue. There is a different view of course from the Turkish leadership and this is something that we hope that will be resolved by the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, he said.


    Cypriot APOEL FC and Ukrainian Shakhtar Donetsk drew 1-1 on Wednesday night at Donbass Arena, sending APOEL to the top of its Champions League Group and Shakhtar Donetsk at the bottom.

    Zenit St Petersburgs victory over FC Porto in Saint Petersburg by 3-1 meant that the point APOEL gained during the match was enough to place it at the top.

    According to the official UEFA website, for the first hour it seemed certain Shakhtar would score first but 61 minutes into the match Ivan Trickovski scored for APOEL. The second goal of the match was scored by Jadson for the home team, at 64 minutes. The points so far for the Group are APOEL 4, Zenit 3, Porto 3, Shakhtar 1.

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