Drill ship in Cypriot field despite strong objection by Turkey: report

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-13 02:03:20|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NICOSIA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- A drill ship has arrived over its target in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone to start a natural gas exploration drilling on behalf ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum, despite strong objections by Turkey, Cypriot state radio reported on Monday.

It also said that the ship is currently making stabilizing maneuvers ahead of the drilling, which is expected to start sometime between Nov. 15 and 17.

Cypriot authorities have issued a navigational telex to mariners establishing a security zone around the drilling target code-named Delphinus.

They also issued a second navigational telex defining a sea corridor from the drilling point to the Egyptian territorial waters around which a multinational naval excursive will be conducted with the participation of ships from several countries, including from the United States.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had stated earlier this month that Turkey will not allow anyone to exploit natural resources which it claims are within its jurisdiction area or that of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognized only by Ankara.

The United States reportedly warned Turkey to refrain from harassing the Exxon Mobil drill ship and sent its Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon, on a tour to Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, two countries with which the eastern Mediterranean island is closely cooperating on energy issues.

His tour is scheduled to coincide with the start of the drilling.

A Turkish drill ship reportedly started a borehole about 100 kilometers south of Antalya province and a Turkish survey ship collecting energy data waded into an area where the notional sea boundaries of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt converge.

Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, on Monday refrained from making commenting on the Turkish claims over areas within Cyprus' jurisdiction, saying that the government would not be drawn into a verbal dispute which would lead to doubts over the legality of its exclusive economic zone.

He said Turkey and all other countries know very well that Cyprus' exclusive economic zone has been demarcated in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Turkey alone refused to accede to.

Since Turkish troops occupied part of Cyprus in 1974, in reaction to a coup by the military rulers of Greece, Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and claims that the island does not have a right over an exclusive economic zone.