Nicosia.- The National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus issue, convenes on Monday in anticipation of the Turkey`s moves in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Turkey has issued recently a NAVTEX (Navigational Telex), a notice to mariners advising that it was reserving areas south of Cyprus for seismic surveys from October 20 to December 30.
The instructions are for a Turkish research vessel to explore within the boundaries of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. However, the order will be effective on the same day that Russian warships armed with missiles will be conducting exercises in the same waters. Nicosia’s agreement with Russia for the naval exercises to take place was secured before Turkey issued its NAVTEX.
The President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday that he is fully satisfied with the results of his meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
According to an official announcement, in statements on Saturday on the sidelines of a lunch hosted by the Archbishop of Cyprus in honor of the visiting Patriarch of Georgia, at the Archbishopric, the President, asked about his recent meeting with Putin, during the ASEM Summit, in Milan, said “it’s best to do more and talk less.”
Asked if he was satisfied with the results of the meeting, the President replied: “fully satisfied.”
Anastasiades and Putin met had on Thursday and they had a very friendly and cordial discussion, in the context of a dinner hosted by the Italian President, in Milano, where European and Asian leaders are taking part in the 10th Asia – Europe Summit (ASEM), Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said, in a written statement on Thursday.
During the dinner, they discussed all matters pertaining to the two countries` bilateral relations, EU – Russia relations as well as the situation as regards the Cyprus reunification process as a result of Turkey`s navtex in relation to the Republic of Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“Mr Putin reaffirmed the Russian position of principle in relation to the solution of the Cyprus problem as well as on the Republic of Cyprus` inalienable right to use and exploit the natural resources within its EEZ, describing any violation of the Republic of Cyprus` sovereign rights as unacceptable”, Chritodoulides notes.
He added that the two leaders agreed to be in a continuous dialogue and in light of further developments to arrange to visit each other.
The President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, following Turkey’s provocations, has recently announced his decision to suspend his participation in the UN backed negotiations which aim to reunify the island under a federal roof.
Nicos Anastasiades held Friday separate consecutive meetings with the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi, on the sidelines of the second day of the 10th ASEM Summit in Milan.
An official press release said “the discussion was focused on the situation that was developed following the Turkish navtex and Turkey`s intention to violate the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, in combination with the fact that the drilling by ENI- Kogas is underway within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus”.
“The need for respect of the sovereign rights of an EU member state which acts on the basis of the international law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea was reaffirmed” the press release added.
Moreover, the need for uninterrupted continuation of the drilling within the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus was stressed, it said.
Anastasiades and his interlocutors agreed to stay in contact, to evaluate developments and to meet again in the framework of the upcoming European Council to be held in Brussels next week.
Reliable sources have told CNA that the Council will be briefed on Monday by the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades on the results of his meetings with foreign leaders in Milan, on the sidelines of the 10th ASEM Summit.
At the same time, President Anastasiades will expect to hear from the political party leaders, comprising the National Council, their positions on how the Republic should proceed on the issue of the Turkish provocations.
The National Council was scheduled to meet on Monday, October 20, in order to begin a discussion on the Cyprus problem. However, the latest developments in Cyprus` EEZ and the Turkish threats alter the agenda of the meeting.
The same sources have told CNA that the main conclusion from President Anastasiades` contacts with foreign leaders in Milan was that the government`s first reaction to the Turkish threats was justified and that no one can predict how Ankara will proceed now.
Cyprus is determined to proceed with its plans with regard to natural gas explorations in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) despite Turkish provocations, Minister of Energy Giorgos Lakkotrypis has said.
“Exploration drilling which began by the Italian – Korean consortium ENI/KOGAS proceeds as planned, we reached the expected depth, we monitor the operations closely and there have been no problems. We proceed as planned,” he said speaking to the press in the south eastern coastal resort of Ayia Napa.
ENI KOGAS began exploration drilling at the potential reserve Onasagoras in block 9.
Asked on Russian Navy drills off shore Cyprus scheduled to begin on Monday Lakkotrypis referred to Government Spokesman`s remarks, adding the “an area adjacent to Cyprus` EEZ has been bounded by the Russian Navy for exercises”.
“We are determined to proceed with our plans irrespective of any possible Turkish provocations” he went on to say.
BRITISH – CYPRIOTS
In letters to Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK has highlighted Turkey’s recent provocative and illegal actions within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus.
In his correspondence, Peter Droussiotis calls upon the United Kingdom, as a guarantor power of the independence and territorial integrity of the island and as a key EU member state and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to condemn unequivocally Turkey’s violations of the Republic’s sovereign rights to exploit hydrocarbon resources within the island’s EEZ. “At a time when the UK is itself exercising rights from sovereign bases in Cyprus, for global security reasons that underline the volatility of the region, it is important that HMG acts with integrity to stop Turkey from threatening and violating the independence and sovereignty of an EU state and UK ally,” he states.
Droussiotis notes that Turkey has previously engaged in ‘gunboat diplomacy’ by issuing regular verbal threats against the Republic in relation to its EEZ and by physically harassing vessels which are involved in lawful exploratory activities authorised by the Government of the Republic within the island’s southern waters.
“Unfortunately, for the first time, Turkey has now chosen to escalate its provocative stance by stating that it will carry out seismic surveys in specific blocks located within Cyprus’s EEZ which have been legally assigned to international companies for the purposes of exploratory drilling.
“Turkey’s increasingly aggressive and dangerous policy and actions are wholly unjustifiable and now threaten not only the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus but also stability and security in an already sensitive and highly volatile region,” stresses the Federation President in his letter to the Prime Minister.
He adds that the timing of Turkey’s actions, in the midst of a process to reunify the island, “serves only to undermine negotiations and raises serious questions about Turkey’s motives and its commitment to that process.“
In similar letters addressed to Leader of the Labour Party and of the Official Opposition, Ed Miliband MP and the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP, Droussiotis calls upon them to make their party’s stance on this critical issue clear and to press the Prime Minister and the British Government to do the same.
In his letters to the Foreign Secretary and the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Droussiotis requests separate meetings between a high-level delegation of the Federation and Hammond and Alexander respectively.