Cyprus issues warning to those involved in "illegal actions in Cypriot EEZ"

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-06 01:45:16|Editor: yan
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NICOSIA, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus issued a warning to those engaged in "illegal actions in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) " after Turkey announced that it sent a drill ship to conduct exploratory natural gas drilling off Cyprus's west shores, Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported on Sunday.

The report said that Cyprus also directly issued a warning to the Turkish drill ship called "Fatih" (conqueror), which was last reported to be about 36 nautical miles (40 kilometers) west of Paphos, a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus.

CNA reported the warning was sent though Cyprus Radio, a marine transmitter communicating information to sailors, demanding it to immediately cease its actions.

"You are conducting illegal operations in the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Your actions are violating the international law and maritime safety procedures and you are committing serious criminal offences under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus," the message quoted by CNA said.

The Cypriot message also addressed a warning that "any individuals and companies working and/or providing services, assisting and soliciting to support the illegal actions of 'Fatih' are violating the rights of the Republic of Cyprus, the international law and maritime safety procedures."

The radio message warned both "Fatih" and any third parties involved that "they will face all consequences according to European and international law and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them."

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said in a statement on Saturday night that Cyprus and the European Union agreed to coordinate legal, political and economic actions in relation to the Turkish drilling, which will be announced after being taken.

"This provocative action by Turkey constitutes a flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus according to International and European Union Law," the statement said.

Federica Mogherini, high representative of the the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, issued a statement on Saturday, expressing "grave concern over Turkey's announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus."

In March 2018, Mogherini's statement read, the European Council strongly condemned Turkey's continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"In this context, we urgently call on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone and refrain from any such illegal action to which the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus," it noted.

Turkey rejected Mogherini's statement later on Saturday, saying "Turkey's hydrocarbon related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean region are based on its legitimate rights stemming from international law."

"Having the longest coastal line in the region, we will protect our own rights and interests within our continental shelf, as well as those of the Turkish Cypriots around the Cyprus Island," said the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

It blamed the Greek Cypriot Administration for not having abstained from "irresponsibly jeopardizing the security and stability" of the region, "by disregarding the inalienable rights of the Turkish Cypriots, who are co-owners of the Cyprus Island, on the natural resources, refusing every proposal of cooperation and insisting on its unilateral activities in the region despite all our warnings."

Cyprus was split in 1974, when Turkey intervened militarily following a coup by Athens-backed Greek Cypriots. Numerous reunification talks between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots have failed.