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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-09-30

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has stressed that Cyprus will continue exploratory drilling for the search of any natural gas deposits in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

    Addressing an event organised by the ruling left-wing AKEL party on the occasion of the anniversary of Cyprus` Independence Day on the 1st of October, President Christofias said that since the Republic of Cyprus began exploratory drilling, Turkey intensified its provocations and threats, in an effort to prevent Cyprus from exercising its sovereign rights.

    ``By provoking and threatening, Turkey violates international law and order instead of respecting it``, he stressed, urging the international community, the UN and the EU, to continue efforts so that Turkey respects international law and stops its policy of threats against Cyprus.

    Commenting on allegations by Turkish officials and the Turkish Cypriot leadership that the commencement of exploratory drilling has a negative impact on the ongoing Cyprus talks, he said such statements are excuses.

    President Christofias noted that the Republic of Cyprus does not participate in the Cyprus talks, explaining that it is the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides who are involved in the talks.

    There is no linkage between the explorations for hydrocarbon reserves with the ongoing procedure to solve the Cyprus problem, he underscored.

    The Cypriot President said that the Republic of Cyprus cannot remain hostage of Turkeys unwillingness to cooperate for the achievement of a solution and thus not exercise its sovereign rights, which he described again as non negotiable.

    We will continue our exploration, always acting strictly in the framework of international law, he underlined.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that the partition of Cyprus is not an option for the Greek Cypriot side; it is rather the long lasting goal of Turkeys expansionist policy.

    The solution of the Cyprus problem, he said, is based on the UN Security Council resolutions, the international and European law.

    President Christofias noted that Turkeys intransigent stance is responsible for the lack of a Cyprus solution so far.

    Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls 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 benefits 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 Cyprus talks began in September 2008 between the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus, aiming at reaching a solution of the Cyprus problem by reunifying the island under a federal roof.


    President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu meet again Friday to discuss security issues, in the context of the intensive UN-led peace talks, aiming at a comprehensive political settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    During their previous meeting on Tuesday, the two community leaders discussed European Union matters, which UN Secretary Generals Special Advisor Alexander Downer has described as one of the less contentious chapters in the negotiations. The UN official said that negotiations will enter a new phase next week, because we will have gone through all of the chapters by the end of this week.

    He said that he will be talking with the leaders about how were going to handle this new phase, adding that this will be a phase that will lead us up to the meeting with the Secretary-General. No date has been confirmed on the meeting with the SG, however its likely to be at the very end in October, he explained.

    How that meeting will go will depend very much on whats been achieved by then, we look forward to next week getting into a different phase of the negotiations and that will take us through to the last meeting, which is on the 21st of October, he added.


    Cyprus development of offshore energy resources do not hinder reunification talks on the island, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner has said. Responding to questions, over the US stance on Cyprus right to explore for natural gas in its EEZ and the involvement of US company Noble Energy, Toner said that the US support Cyprus right to explore for energy. He also added that the US continues to strongly support the Cypriot-led negotiation process, conducted under UN Good Offices to reunify the island into a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Toner also said that having a US company involved in developing the energy resources of Cyprus is positive. Commenting on statements made on Wednesday by Victoria Nuland, another State Department Spokesperson, Toner said that her quotes were taken a bit out of context. We continue to believe that the islands oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement, and we don`t believe that developing offshore energy resources need hinder those reunification talks said the State Department official.

    Toner refrained from responding to a question on the threats aired by the Turkish Prime Minister against Cyprus, concerning energy exploration activities, by saying that there`s a very clear path forward here. There`s a Cypriot-led negotiation process being conducted under the U.N. That`s the best way to resolve all of these issues.

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