Minister Kasoulides’ press conference on the Turkish provocations in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone - 07/10/2014
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, held a press conference yesterday during which he referred, inter alia, to the recent Turkish provocations in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone, his contacts in New York, and Cyprus’ regional role in addressing asymmetrical threats.
Mr Kasoulides stressed that the note (NAVTEX) that the Turkish Government issued on Friday was probably the most serious incident since the Cyprus Government exercised its sovereign right to delineate its Exclusive Economic Zone. He noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy, is examining a series of diplomatic, political and legal measures which will be put before the President of the Republic.
Mr Kasoulides underlined that the warnings coming from Turkey are not in conformity with the principles of international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He also regretted that the Turkish Cypriot Leadership’s statements on the matter are not conducive to the efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem. In the event of a solution, he added, all Cypriots will benefit from the exploration of the hydrocarbons in the EEZ, which Turkey currently hinders and undermines. Moreover, the Minister of Foreign Affairs referred to his contacts while in New York and expressed his utmost satisfaction on the outcome of the meetings.
As far as Cyprus’ regional role is concerned, Minister Kasoulides noted that Cyprus is acknowledged as a reliable partner and a factor of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region. He added that “At the same time Cyprus’ important role in the international community’s efforts to address international security challenges in the region, such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, illegal migration, and illegal human and goods trafficking, was highlighted”.
Mr Kasoulides also referred to the need of coordinated and joined actions against the jihadists of the so-called Islamic State, saying that due to its geographical position the Republic of Cyprus is at the forefront and constitutes the EU’s outpost in a volatile region. He also expressed Cyprus’ concern over the developments in Lebanon, which endanger the country’s territorial integrity. “We believe it is our duty to assist the international community in the fight against the Islamic State”, Mr Kasoulides asserted.
In relation to the cooperation between Cyprus and Egypt, the Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed out that the objective is to further institutional cooperation and deepen these relations in the fields of defence, security and energy. Referring to Egypt’s role in the region, he described the country as a pillar of security and stability in the area.
As regards the recent meeting of the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York, Mr Kasoulides thanked Egypt and the other countries that took a principled stance vis a vis Turkey’s efforts to include reference to “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” or to a “Turkish Cypriot state” in the final communique. As a result, no agreement was reached between the member states regarding the wording of the final communique
Concluding, Mr Kasoulides reiterated Cyprus Government’s political will to engage into a fruitful negotiation process that will lead to the solution of the Cyprus problem and the reunification of the island.