UK assessing events in Cyprus’ EEZ, says Minister for Europe

The UK government is currently assessing the events in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus, related to the hydrocarbons drilling activity, the House of Commons heard on Tuesday afternoon, during a questions and answers session on foreign policy.

The first set of questions to the political heads of the Foreign Office concerned Turkey, and more specifically its military operation in Afrin.

The Chipping Barnet (north London) Conservative MP Theresa Villiers took the opportunity to ask the Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan whether the UK would make representations to the Turkish Foreign Minister to ask the Turkish navy to cease obstructing vessels seeking to extract hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Sir Alan Duncan responded: I understand the issue to which my RH Friend refers, which is the issue of drilling for oil and gas on the edge of Cyprus; and we are assessing what has been reported over the last days or so on what exactly is happening in that area.

Drillship Saipem 12000, commissioned by Italian energy company ENI, was halted on the 9th of February by Turkish warships en route to a location within block 3 of Cyprus EEZ.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of UN-peace talks commenced at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana on June 28, but in the early hours of July 7, it was announced that the Conference on Cyprus ended without an agreement. Talks held under the auspices of the UN aim at reunifying Cyprus under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency