The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the escalation of tension in the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, calling for adherence to international law and the resolution of disputed issues with peaceful means.
“We are following with concern the further escalation of tension over hydrocarbons in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus”, said a statement attributed to the Russian MFA’s Information and Press Department, posted on the facebook page of the Russian embassy to Cyprus.
“We urge to refrain from the steps leading to destabilization and buildup of a potential crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean, strictly adhere to the principles of the international law, and strive to resolve disputed issues exclusively by peaceful means,” the statement added.
Concluding the Russian MFA said “we support an early resumption of negotiations in order to achieve a stable, viable and fair solution to the Cyprus problem in the interests of all the residents of the island. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we will render all necessary assistance to this.”
Turkey has dispatched its drill ship Yavuz to the Cypriot EEZ with the intention of carrying out drilling operations in Cyprus’ block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7, has been licensed by the Government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for hydrocarbon exploration. Moreover, since 4 May 2019, a second the Turkish drill ship, “Fatih”, has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.