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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-16

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens adamant on Cyprus' oil exploration rights

  • [01] Athens adamant on Cyprus' oil exploration rights

    Athens on Friday again flatly dismissed the latest round of sabre-rattling emanating from Ankara in the wake of the Republic of Cyprus' agreements with Lebanon and Egypt to delineate offshore oil exploration rights in their respective eastern Mediterranean continental shelves.

    "It is unnecessary to keep repeating something that is absolutely self-evident ... Independent countries have the inalienable sovereign right to enter into bilateral agreements and to honor such agreements," foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos told reporters during his regular weekly briefing.

    In highlighting the aggressive stance assumed by Ankara of late against EU member Cyprus because of the issue, Koumoutsakos added that "disputing such a fundamental right of International Law, which, in fact, regulates the entire international community's operation, is a lonely path, a path in breach with Europe's rules and principles."

    The Greek spokesman also referred directly to the region in question, saying the eastern Mediterranean desperately needs stability, good-neighborly relations and mutual respect between regional states.

    "This is what Egypt, Cyprus and Lebanon are doing in this specific case. What Turkey does is its business, and of course, this is evaluated and judged," he added.

    Asked about a recent statement by the Turkish energy minister regarding Turkish oil exploration in the Aegean Sea, Koumoutsakos declined to comment, saying only that the latter is a "statement of intent, and it's evaluated as such".

    Regarding overall Greek-Turkish relations, the spokesman said that improvement is always the goal, in tandem with the safeguarding of the country's interests.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros more-or-less echoed the foreign ministry spokesman during a same-day press briefing.

    Antonaros repeated, moreover, that Athens and Nicosia are closely and effectively cooperating on all such issues.

    In fact, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos will arrive in Athens for talks next week.

    Olli Rehn spokeswoman

    Meanwhile, in an ANA-MPA dispatch from Brussels on Friday, a spokeswoman for EU Commissioner Olli Rehn again emphasised that as a sovereign state, the Republic of Cyprus can indisputably enter into international agreements and treaties.

    The spokeswoman added that such agreements must be compatible with Community Law, while also urging self-restraint and moderation by all sides involved.

    In response to a question over a meeting on Thursday between Rehn, whose portfolio includes the Union's enlargement, and the head of Turkey's accession negotiations, Amb. Ali Babacan, she noted that the political situation in EU hopeful Turkey was examined along with the course of membership negotiations.

    The same spokeswoman said progress in political reforms in the neighbouring country comprises a "key" in its successful accession course.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Koumoutsakos.

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