Cyprus takes steps on various levels about new Turkish provocations, Deputy Spokesperson says

Deputy Government Spokesperson Panayiotis Sentonas said on Wednesday that the government has taken steps on various levels in relation to the new Turkish provocations concerning the dispatch of the exploration vessel Barbaros in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).


In statements at the Presidential Palace, Sentonas said that this action is one more indication of Turkish intentions.


“Through its actions Turkey deteriorates the already tense climate in the region and violates once more the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights,” he noted.


The Deputy Government Spokesperson added that there are ongoing actions by the government on various levels.


Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Christodoulides, he said, has already had a conversation with Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell. He added that there has also been communication with the EU Council German presidency.


“Various government actions are ongoing on various levels in order to deal with this new unacceptable provocation by Turkey,” Sentonas pointed out.


Asked whether the fact that Europeans seems to have a different approach in the case of Greece’s continental shelf and Cyprus’ EEZ is a source of concern, he said that it certainly is.


This is why previously President Anastasiades has “showcased during all his contacts the need for a more decisive EU stand vis-à-vis Turkish provocations, because we believe that they are also provocations against the EU,” he noted.


Sentonas recalled the proposals President Anastasiades has put forward before the European Council, what has been agreed at External Affairs Council level which took place beforehand and the matters he raised with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.


“We believe that the EU, of which Cyprus is a member state, needs to formulate a more decisive and effective position in the case of Cyprus as well,” he said.


The Deputy Government Spokesperson was also asked to comment the unanimous decision by the UN Security Council to renew the peacekeeping force in Cyprus, UNFICYP’s mandate until January 31, 2021 and recalled that the government has already welcomed this decision.


On the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry’s reaction he said that the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar had already briefed Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and had received his comments and that at the same time a meeting had taken place between Spehar and President Anastasiades during which the Greek Cypriot side’s thoughts and concerns had been submitted in writing.


The government’s assessment is that there are positive elements in the specific resolution, he said, pointing out that among other things that the Security Council’s resolutions on the Cyprus solution basis are reconfirmed, that resolutions on Famagusta are referred to and the need to respect them mainly on the part of Turkey and circles in the occupied areas trying to create faits accomplis.


Asked whether the fact that the UN Secretary General does not clearly condemn Turkish actions in Cyprus’ EEZ is a source of concern, Sentonas pointed out that an appeal is included in the Security Council’s resolution for a de-escalation of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and that the government believes that in this way a message is sent to Turkey.


“Yes, we would have liked more clear references, as we have already said after the meeting between President of the Republic and Spehar. However, we evaluate as important that this element is included,” he said.


Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.


Source: Cyprus News Agency

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