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Cyprus accuses Turkey of 'provocative actions' in Mediterranean

AFP , Saturday 8 Nov 2014
Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades speaks during a news conference with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (unseen) after their summit at the presidential palace in Cairo November 8, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Saturday accused Turkey of "provocative actions" that he said are hindering the island's peace talks and compromising security in the eastern Mediterranean.

Last month Cyprus suspended its participation in UN-led peace talks with Turkey amid tensions over Ankara's determination to search for oil and gas in the same region where the Cypriot government has licensed exploratory drills in an exclusive economic zone.

"Turkey's provocative actions do not just compromise the peace talks, but also affect security in the eastern Mediterranean region," Anastasiades said during a visit to Cairo.

"For the (peace) negotiations to succeed Turkey needs to show positive intention and adopt a constructive stance through positive and effective steps in this direction," he said, according to a translation.

The Greek Cypriot leader was speaking at a joint news conference in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Since October 20 a Turkish survey vessel has encroached Cyprus's exclusive economic zone off the island's southern coast, according to Nicosia.

Ankara had issued a notice that a Turkish seismic vessel would carry out a survey until December 30 in the same area where the Italian-Korean energy consortium ENI-Kogas is operating.

Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of Cyprus in 1974 in response to an Athens-engineered coup aimed at uniting it with Greece, and the peace talks are aimed at reunifying the island.

Ankara opposes the Cypriot government's exploitation of offshore energy reserves before a deal is reached to solve the decades-long division of the east Mediterranean island.

Anastasiades, Samaras and Sisi were at a summit in Cairo on Saturday to discuss regional security and economic cooperation.

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