New York.- The President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has said that Turkey’s reaction to Cyprus’ drilling activities in its Exclusive Economic Zone is unlawful. He pointed out that this response reflects an equally illegitimate move, which established the Turkish Cypriot regime in northern Turkish occupied Cyprus. It also echoes Ankara’s illegal agreement with the regime to delineate the continental shelf in the area between Turkey’s southern coast and Cyprus.
President Christofias was delivering on Thursday the 8th annual “Emile Noel lecture”, at the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice of the New York University’s School of Law, on “the state of the European Union”.
Speaking to the Center’s Director, J.H.H. Weiler, President Christofias said that many countries have expressed their respect to Cyprus’ right to exploit its natural resources within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to the provisions of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea.
Moreover, he said that Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan was for the moment under pressure with regard to his threats against Cyprus, and predicted that Erdogan will not take recourse to military means or wage war in order to stop Cyprus from its exploration activities.
Asked whether Cyprus will continue with its exploration in the EEZ, the President said it would carry on with drilling.
On his predictions concerning the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said he wished for the realization of his vision, which includes the reunification of the island, the end of the Turkish occupation and a comprehensive solution accepted by the people.
He reiterated an earlier statement that he will not run again for President if a Cyprus solution is not imminent.
President Christofias said the best moment during his incumbency was when he agreed with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat the basis for the resumption of direct negotiations, while the worst moment was the deadly blast at the naval base “Evaggelos Florakis”, last July, which killed 13 people.
The blast occurred in containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from ”Monchegorsk”, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009. Nicosia was acting in accordance with UN sanctions against Teheran.
Speaking on the current phase of the UN-led talks, President Christofias said that the current Turkish Cypriot leader Dervish Eroglu is retracting from previously agreed positions with Talat, like the agreement on a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality, as well as in the chapter of territory.
Houston-based ‘Noble Energy’, whose drilling rig is already in place, off the island’s southern coast, has begun drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ. The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field, south of Cyprus, known as Block 12.
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.