The UK recognises the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights to exploit mineral reserves in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), states a Foreign Office letter addressed to the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK Peter Droussiotis.
The letter, dated 24 November 2014, comes as a response to letters sent to the British Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary by Droussiotis on 17 October, in which he was calling for an unequivocal condemnation of Turkey’s violations of the Republic’s sovereign rights.
The Foreign Office official, who signs the letter, also notes that it remains the position of the UK Government that such resources should be exploited for the benefit of “all the communities in Cyprus”. He adds that Britain has made clear its concern that recent incidents, such as Turkey’s announcement of exploration activities in the Republic of Cyprus’ EEZ, risked raising tensions. “We have continued to call on all parties to avoid inflammatory actions or statements,” it is added.
The Foreign Office response to the Federation President goes on: “As you note, the incident comes at an important time in the UN-facilitated talks. This ongoing dispute puts at risk the UN’s efforts, while underlining the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement. We therefore hope that settlement talks can resume at the earliest opportunity, and proceed successfully.”
The last paragraph of the letter states that the UK has been diplomatically active with the aim of easing current tensions, that the British Ambassador in Ankara has conveyed London’s concerns to Turkey and that Turkey is regularly urged to meet its commitments.
“Recognition of the EU and its Member States is a requirement laid out in the EU accession criteria that apply to Turkey,” stressed the Foreign Office response, concluding with the expression of strong support for the resumption of settlement talks.
Turkey, whose troops occupy one third of Cyprus since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004.
Numerous rounds of UN-backed talks to reunite the island under a federal roof have failed to yield results. Recently, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades decided to suspend his participation in the talks, following Turkey`s provocative acts in the island`s exclusive economic zone.
Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros entered Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone in October, a few days after Turkey had issued an illegal maritime order (NAVTEX) for the area.