The Foreign Office has repeated its position on the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus as stated last week, in an answer to written questions submitted by Theresa Villiers MP.
The pro-Cypriot north London Conservative MP asked the Foreign Secretary last Wednesday “if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart on the incursion into the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone in the Eastern Mediterranean of drilling ships from Turkey.”
This question was grouped with the following questions for answer:
• To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has rights to authorise drilling operations in the Eastern Mediterranean Exclusive Economic Zone.
• To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government recognises the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.
The response was written by the Minister of State for Africa Harriett Baldwin. It reads: “Our position remains unchanged: we continue to recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone.
“With reference to Turkey`s planned drilling, the position of the UK is that, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute.”
Mrs Baldwin added: “We have called on Turkey not to drill in this area. Sir Alan Duncan had made this clear to the Turkish Ambassador in London and the British Ambassador to Ankara has engaged with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urge de-escalation.
“We continue to believe Cyprus` oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots.”