Regional allies denounce Turkey drills in Cyprus EEZ

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Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, France and the United Arab Emirates denounced Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone calling it a clear violation of international law.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides participated in a teleconference with his counterparts of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, Greece, Nikos Dendias and France, Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Monday’s teleconference took place in the framework of the  “3 + 1” formula and follows the Cairo Meeting in January 2020.

It was also attended for the first time by the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.

A Declaration adopted by the Foreign Ministers said they discussed the latest worrying developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as a number of regional crises that threaten peace and stability in this region.

They stressed the strategic importance of enhancing and intensifying their political consultations and expressed their deepest concern over the current escalation and provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The Ministers denounced the ongoing Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and its territorial waters, as they represent a clear violation of international law…It is the sixth attempt by Turkey in less than a year to illegally conduct drilling operations in Cyprus’ maritime zones,” the Declaration said.

“The Ministers also condemned the escalation of Turkey’s violations of Greek national airspace, including overflights of inhabited areas and territorial waters in violation of International Law.”

They condemned the “instrumentalization of civilians by Turkey in an attempt to illegally cross Greek land borders as well as its continued support for illegal crossings of Greek sea boundaries”.

France, Egypt, UAE, Greece and Cyprus urged Turkey to fully respect the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of all States in their maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean.

They said a security and maritime cooperation deals signed last year between Turkey and Libya were in contravention of international law and the UN arms embargo in Libya, and undermine regional stability.

According to the Declaration, the Ministers “deeply regretted the escalation of hostilities in Libya and recalled the commitment to refrain from any military foreign intervention in Libya as agreed in the conclusions of the Berlin conference”.

The Ministers strongly condemned Turkey’s military interference in Libya and urged Turkey to fully respect the UN arms embargo and to stop the influx of foreign fighters from Syria to Libya.

“These developments constitute a threat to the stability of Libya’s neighbours in Africa as well as in Europe.”

The Ministers also called on the Libyan parties to observe a truce during the holy month of Ramadan and stressed their commitment to work towards a comprehensive political solution to the Libyan crisis under the auspices of the United Nations and expressed their keenness for the resumption of the meetings of the three tracks of the Berlin process (Political, military, economic and financial).