articles | 14 October 2019

EU agrees on sanctions targeting those involved in illegal Cyprus drills

EU Foreign Affairs Ministers agreed that restrictive measures targeting those involved in Turkey’s illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in Cyprus be put in place.

They invited the EU Commission to swiftly present proposals to this effect.

The text adopted by the Council said: "In light of Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, the Council reaffirms its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law."

The Council recalled its conclusions of 15 July that delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of international law and in accordance with the principle of good neighbourly relations.

It agreed that a “framework regime of restrictive measures targeting natural and legal persons responsible for or involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean is put in place."

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides welcomed the EU stance in Luxembourg on Monday.

“It sends a clear message to Turkey that its actions are condemnable, but at the same time it is also a message to all those involved in these illegal actions that their actions have consequences”.

He said it “strengthens our efforts to prevent and put an end to Turkey's illegal activities”.

The issue will be further discussed at the level of EU leaders at the European Council meeting on 17-18 October, which will ratify the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions.

Turkey has dispatched several vessels in areas that fall within the continental shelf/EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus.

The Turkish drill ship Yavuz is preparing to conduct drilling operations inside block 7, where Cyprus has licensed France’s Total and Italy’s Eni to exploit hydrocarbons.

Yavuz, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.

Cyprus has called on the Yavuz and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.

Source: Financial Mirror

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