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Cyprus protests to UN over Turkey’s maritime carve-up

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In two letters sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Cyprus condemns Turkey’s unlawful maritime claims and new illegal drilling operations in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

A letter dated 24 April by Cyprus permanent representative to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis,  “rejects the newly attempted submission by Turkey of geographical coordinates concerning the outer limits of its alleged continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea…which clearly encroach upon the maritime zones of Cyprus.”

It said “Turkey’s unlawful claims extend to maritime areas where it could not have any rights whatsoever under international law and purport to “delimit” maritime boundaries with states with which it has no opposite or adjacent coasts”.

Mavroyiannis referred to the MoU between Turkey and the UN-backed Libyan government on the agreed delimitation of maritime zones in the Mediterranean.

“Cyprus condemns the attempted delimitation of maritime zones through this Memorandum, which not only does not comply with the rules of international law as regards the conclusion of treaties but is also contrary to the international law of the sea.”

He called it “an unlawful instrument that fabricates a non-existent maritime boundary between Turkey and Libya at the expense of the rights and interests of third States”.

In a letter dated 30 April, Cyprus protests “the new illegal drilling operations to be undertaken by Turkey in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Cyprus”.

The scheduled new drill by Turkish vessel Yavuz will be the sixth in less than a year.

“The unlawful operations of Turkey in different parts of Cyprus’ maritime zones have been uninterrupted since their launch on 4 May 2019.”

Turkey’s actions, he stresses among other things, “are a direct violation of Cyprus’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction under international law, both customary international law as well as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

“The use by a Member State of its might, in order to usurp another Member State’s sovereignty and to thwart the exercise of its sovereign rights, is a direct violation of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Mavroyiannis informed the UN Secretary-General that “in addition to Turkish navy vessels and unmanned aerial vehicles escorting the Turkish drillships, Turkish armed forces conduct military exercises in Cyprus’ maritime space on a daily basis.”

He said the Republic “has no doubts about its sovereignty throughout the territory of the island of Cyprus, its airspace and territorial sea and its sovereign rights over the entire exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the island.”

Nicosia called upon all UN Member States and organs “bearing responsibility for upholding the Charter of the United Nations and maintaining international peace and security to fulfil their responsibility”. (source CNA)