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Italy in solidarity with Cyprus over illegal Turkish drilling

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Italy has underlined its full solidarity with Cyprus over Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities for gas in Cypriot waters.

A joint statement issued by Foreign Ministers Nikos Christodoulides and Luigi Di Maio, in Rome, also notes that the delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue, with respect for international law.

The two Ministers also agreed on the need to expedite the implementation of the decision of the EU of sanctions targeting those who are responsible for or involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in Cyprus waters.

Christodoulides and Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio discussed their excellent bilateral relations, the Libya crisis, migration, the most recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and energy-related issues.

“Recalling the Conclusions of the European Council of October and December 2019, Italy reiterated its full solidarity with Cyprus on Turkey`s continued illegal drilling activities in Eastern Mediterranean, completely disregarding Cyprus’ sovereignty and sovereign rights,” the statement said.

The two ministers, welcoming the invitation by Cyprus to negotiate with Turkey, agreed that delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of International Law and in accordance with the principle of good neighbourly relations.

Italy and France also deemed a maritime and security accord Turkey signed with Libya as “unacceptable” as it infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states and does not comply with the Law of the Sea.

“It is only through genuine and good faith cooperation, that natural resources in the Mediterranean will benefit all peoples living in the region.”

Turkey dispatched its drillship, Yavuz, to conduct a drilling operation off the southern coast of Cyprus, which remains divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

UN-led peace talks for a Cyprus settlement have so far failed to yield results.

The last round of negotiations, in July 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana collapsed.