Britain underlines opposition to Turkish drilling

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The UK Foreign Office has assured the Cypriot diaspora that Britain opposes any illegal activity by Turkey inside Cyprus waters.

This position is contained in an FCO letter to 15 UK Cypriots who had written to Foreign Secretary Raab asking for London’s support against Turkey’s “second invasion” in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

It said the best way to resolve the challenges faced by both Cypriot communities is through a comprehensive settlement to end the division.

On the presence of Turkish drillships within the Cypriot EEZ, London said de-escalation of the situation is their priority.

“The UK has repeatedly expressed our opposition to Turkish drilling plans in the waters around Cyprus, both in public and in private. We have raised the issue with (Turkey) Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, reiterating UK opposition to Turkish drilling plans and urging de-escalation,” said the letter.

It said the UK “continues to recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone.”

Britain argues such disputes should be resolved “not through force, militarisation or coercion, but through dialogue and in accordance with international law”.

London called on all parties to look for ways by which the development of the island’s resources can support the search for a settlement for the benefit of all Cypriots.

Such a settlement “would unlock significant economic benefits through increased opportunities for trade, investment, and tourism, and open up the possibility of new energy and economic partnerships in the region,”.

Nicosia has condemned Turkey’s newly planned illegal drilling within its EEZ and continental shelf of Cyprus where Italy’s Eni and France’s Total are licensed to explore. (source CNA)