Egypt warns against any violations of Cypriot rights: FM spokesperson

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Jan 2020

Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez warned in statement on Sunday of the consequences of any unilateral measures that “violate Cypriot rights and threaten the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region.”

Hafez emphasised Egypt's support of the rights and sovereignty of Cyprus over its resources in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including the areas where Cyprus has been given licenses for offshore oil and gas exploration.

Hafez stressed on “the necessity of respecting and complying with the rules and provisions of international law.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised last Thursday that Turkey would start exploring for gas in the eastern Mediterranean this year in the maritime zone of Cyprus, after signing a maritime deal with Libya last year.

The Cypriot presidency issued a statement on Sunday saying that "Turkey is turning into a pirate state in the Eastern Mediterranean."

EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement on Saturday that it is illegal for Turkey to drill for oil and gas around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The EU has called on Turkey to pull back on its plans.

Possible sanctions on Turkey could be discussed “as early as Monday when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels,” the AFP cited EU officials as saying.

Turkey claims that it is drilling inside its continental shelf and that its actions are in accordance with international law.

Turkey has been occupying the northern third of the Cypriot island since 1974 in response to a coup d'état by a Greek military junta aimed at uniting the island with Greece. The remaining part of the island is controlled by the Republic of Cyprus.

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