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Foreign Minister Kyprianou briefs EU colleagues on Turkish provocations
2009-08-07 13:41:03

Nicosia, Jul 28 The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Marcos Kyprianou briefed his EU counterparts on Monday (July 27) in Brussels, during a working dinner of the EU General Affairs Council members, on the repeated violations by Turkey of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.

Minister Kyprianou pointed out the provocative actions of Turkey within Cyprus' exclusive economic zone, the harassment of ships carrying out research on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus within the zone, and the recent decision of the Turkish government to approve an application by Turkish Petroleum Corporation to carry out investigations for hydrocarbons in an area which partially includes Cyprus' exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Other issues discussed at the General Affairs Council were the situation in Somalia, Iran and Georgia. Furthermore, the Swedish presidency of the EU presented its priorities and there was an exchange of views on the European Commission's proposal for a strategy covering the Baltic Sea region.

Minister Kyprianou said the Swedish presidency's priorities ''satisfy us in general, since they include issues such as the environment, the financial crisis, unemployment and social matters, as well as immigration and asylum, which are sectors in which Cyprus is facing problems.''

''A priority of the Swedish presidency will be the Middle East question, which is a fundamental priority for us as well,'' he added.

Minister Kyprianou said that during the dinner he had the opportunity to brief his colleagues on Turkey's behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean, and that Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyiannis also spoke about Turkey's actions in the Aegean Sea.

''I briefed them on the continuous violations of the air space and territorial waters of Cyprus, both those emanating from the occupation and those that are part of specific activities, such as the latest search and rescue exercise in Cyprus' territorial waters, even if it was in the occupied areas,'' he said.

Minister Kyprianou noted that he also briefed his colleagues on ''the problems concerning the exclusive economic zone and the dispute on behalf of Turkey, as well as the absence of legal basis for these demands.''

He pointed out that Cyprus is acting in line with international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, adding that ''Turkey is not only violating the international and legal framework but is also violating its obligations as a candidate for accession to the EU.''

''As evidence I reminded my colleagues of the December 2008 European Council conclusions and the negotiating framework, which refer to good neighborly relations and the peaceful solution of differences,'' he said. Minister Kyprianou reiterated that the problem also includes the threat of the use of violence, as well as harassment by war ships and planes, which in some cases placed the crews of research vessels in danger.

''These actions are certainly not part of the peaceful solution of differences. Of course, I reminded my colleagues of the common position of the 27 in the EU-Turkey Association Council of May 2009, which specifically refers to the right of member states to enter bilateral agreements based on the acquis communautaire and international law, including the Convention on the Law of the Sea,'' he said.

He added that ''we warned that this gunboat policy and the violation of these obligations do not befit a candidate country and that there will be consequences if Turkey continues to maintain this approach.''

''The Swedish presidency said it will monitor the issue and we will be discussing it again, if necessary,'' Minister Kyprianou concluded.

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