Cyprus’s presidential commissioner, Photis Photiou, said that Cyprus faces the intransigence of Turkey and its unprecedented arrogance, in addition to flagrant violations of international laws relating to Cyprus’s sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone.
Photiou’s remarks came during a press conference on Sunday, where he explained that his country will continue efforts to find a solution that reunites Cyprus and transforms it into a land of peace. He expressed his wish that the Turkish side change its position and cooperate.
Cyprus has been divided into two countries since 1974: Turkish Cyprus on the northern third of the island and Greek Cyprus, situated on the southern two-thirds. While the Greek Republic of Cyprus is internationally recognised and is an EU member, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognised only by Ankara.
In February, five Turkish military vessels stopped a rig belonging to the Italian energy firm Eni from processing its gas exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean waters off of Cyprus, according to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
Commenting on the incident, Eni’s Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said that his company awaits a diplomatic solution to the crisis between Turkey and Cyprus to immediately start operations, stressing that Eni would “not abandon its exploration off Cyprus.”
Earlier in February, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu declared that his country would not recognise any agreements regarding the economic zone of the Mediterranean including the 2013 agreement between Egypt and Cyprus.
Egyptian authorities denounced the Turkish threats, and affirmed Egypt’s position that the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt and Cyprus is legal and any third party has no right to doubt its legality.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid warned of any attempt to harm or affect Egypt’s sovereign rights in the eastern Mediterranean region, saying it will be confronted.
Economic cooperation between Egypt and Cyprus have been in full swing, as the two countries and Greece signed on Saturday a memorandum of understanding for a European-African electricity interconnection project with a capacity of 2,000 MW and initial investments of $4bn.
Furthermore, in February, a preliminary agreement between Egypt and Cyprus was reached to extend natural gas transmission pipelines from Cypriot fields to Egyptian natural gas liquefaction plants, according to the Egyptian Petroleum Ministry. The establishment of the line could take two years, especially as Cypriot gas will not be ready for export before three years.