|Wednesday, 13 December 2017|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-02-17
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Turkish claims in Cyprus` EEZ are unfounded, says former AmbassadorFormer Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus Andreas Iacovides has described the announcement of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as ``legally unfounded``.
Iacovides, who served in the past as head of the Cypriot delegation for the Convention of the Law of the Sea, was invited by CNA to comment on the announcement issued on Wednesday by the Turkish Foreign Ministry regarding the second international tender for off-shore hydrocarbon exploration called by the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey has claimed that certain sections of some of these blocks ``are overlapping with Turkey’s continental shelf areas in the Eastern Mediterranean``.
Moreover, the Turkish Ministry warned that Turkey ``will not allow under any circumstances foreign oil companies to conduct unauthorised oil/natural gas exploration and exploitation activities in these overlapping areas and will take all necessary measures to protect its rights and interests in the maritime areas falling within its continental shelf``.
In statements to CNA, Iacovides said that the Turkish claims that five of the 13 blocks of Cyprus` EEZ, namely 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, are in Turkey`s continental shelf, are ``legally unfounded and geomorphologically baseless``.
``If Turkey wishes to question Cypriot positions regarding those blocks, as they have been agreed with Egypt in 2003, the response to every member of the international community which respects the international law, is found in the negotiations between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus, (which Turkey still refuses to recognise). If no solution is found, the dispute will be referred to arbitration of a third party, or the International Court of Justice in The Hague``, he pointed out.
Iacovides said that the median line is the starting point for the division of the EEZ of the two countries, as Cyprus has acted with Egypt in 2003, Lebanon in 2007 and Israel in 2010.
As he explained, this particular way of action is defined by the relevant provisions of the Convention of the Law of the Sea of 1982, as well as article 33 of the UN Charter, which legally binds Turkey and Cyprus to solve any disputes with peaceful means and not with threats or the use of violence.
Invited to say whether he believes that the government of Cyprus should issue an announcement with its arguments, Iacovides said that this has already been done with the publication of an international tender in the EU Official Journal last Saturday for the second licensing round for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation within Cyprus` EEZ.
Iacovides negotiated the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and continues to participate in international fora for the Law of the Sea.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.
Recently, Nicosia announced in the Official Journal of the EU a call for an international tender for off-shore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation within the Republic’s Economic Exclusive Zone, signaling the initiation of a second round of licensing.
On Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Nicosia’s new licensing round in the area could lead to tension in the region.
In response to Cypriot exploration activities, Ankara has deployed in the past 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.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey’s 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.
Turkey is the only country in the world which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004.
 Netanyahu: Regional cooperation in the field of energyThe field of energy could be the basis of a regional cooperation starting with Cyprus and Israel and extending to others, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
Netanyahu, who was making his opening remarks during a joint press conference with President of the Republic Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace, expressed the view that in the field of gas exploitation a regional approach may be followed, which, he noted, “perhaps begins with a regional cooperation between Cyprus and Israel but could extend to others if they choose to enter”.
Referring specifically to the hydrocarbon reserves found in the Exclusive Economic Zones of both Israel and Cyprus, Netanyahu said that “it is our view that if we can cooperate the sum of the total will be greater than the individual parts”.
“We are looking in the next months to complete a joint study to see how we can translate this cooperation into practical economic terms”, he added, expressing the view that large scale projects are better handled in cooperation with others.
Netanyahu also referred to the political problems of both Israel and Cyprus, pointing out that “we believe that those problems have to be solved through negotiations, they cannot be imposed from the outside, because imposed solutions do not work”.
“The only thing that works to advance peace and reconciliation between neighbours is to actually have a negotiation”, he said, adding that “this is what we seek with the Palestinians and this is what we believe must be followed in other cases as well”.
According to Netanyahu President Christofias was the first leader he called for help during the terrible fire at Carmel mountain in 2010, adding that the fact that President Christofias replied positively “was an expression of friendship and we tried to reciprocate it later when you had your tragedy”.
“This highlights something that is so natural for two liberal democracies”, Netanyahu pointed out, adding that “we are democracies we share values but yet we didn’t have this contact for so many decades and now we find it the most natural thing”.
 Leaders to meet again on TuesdayThe leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, namely President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, will meet on Tuesday, February 21, in the context of the UN-led direct talks to solve Cyprus problem.
The meeting will take place at the Chief of Mission`s residence in the United Nations Protected Area of Nicosia and will begin at 10:00 am local time.
Speaking after the last meeting of the two leaders, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim said that at that meeting of next Tuesday the leaders will discuss the property issue.
 CBC Governor: Solidarity needed in Eurozone to regain trustGovernor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Athanasios Orphanides has said that the trust which the Eurozone had enjoyed in the past is now severely damaged due to the fact that cooperation and solidarity among its member states has been collapsing over the past two years.
Addressing on Thursday evening an event organised by the Cyprus Economic Society, Orphanides said that the Eurozone has to convince investors and this can be achieved when the Eurozone immediately implements - in a strict manner - the new fiscal contract without the delay demonstrated in the past two years as regards the management of the crisis.
Orphanides noted that above all what is required is to finally demonstrate the necessary mutual solidarity among the member states. He recalled the words of former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt who said that this is legally binding for the member states through articles 3 and 5 of the Treaty.
The Governor of the Central Bank said that, although European leaders have changed tack by announcing on December 9, 2011, a change in the overall decision to absorb losses from the private sector (PSI) in cases where a state is facing liquidity problems, “investors are not convinced`` .
He noted that not even the “important steps in terms of governance of the Euro with the fiscal contract seem to fully restore confidence”.
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