Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, has thanked European Council President Donald Tusk for his active support amidst actions by Turkey that violate the sovereign rights of Cyprus, stressing that Cyprus counts on the support of all EU member states during the forthcoming EU Summit, in condemning these illegal actions.

Following a post on Twitter by Tusk who noted that “Turkey`s continued illegal drilling activities only undermine good neighbourly relations between the EU and Turkey” and that “the EU stands united behind Cyprus”, Anastasiades said in a Twitter post: “Thank you @eucopresident for your active support amidst actions that violate the sovereign rights of #Cyprus, an EU member-state, and test our values of upholding international law and the need to abide with the principle of maintaining and promoting good neighbourly relations.”

Moreover he noted that “these are the fundamental concepts that any state aspiring to become a member of our EU family should uphold and respect. We count on the support of all EU member-states during the EU Summit to take place next week in condemning these illegal actions.”

According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship “Yavuz”, which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside 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 drilling operations.

“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.

Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, 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 called on drill ship “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.

A navigational telex (navtex), published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels that they will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.

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.

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