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EU pledges to act if no de-escalation in East Med

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the EU will take measures if there is no de-escalation of tensions and an end to Turkey’s illegal activity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This is what von der Leyen said to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades after briefing him on the outcome of a teleconference she held on Wednesday with Erdogan, according to an official statement in Nicosia.

Anastasiades was informed that she told the Turkish President that if there is no de-escalation of the tension and an end to the illegal actions then the European Union will have to take measures.

The Cypriot President thanked von der Leyen for the efforts made by the heads of the European institutions to de-escalate the crisis.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell have also discussed the next steps aiming at the de-escalation of the situation in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where Turkey has sent a drillship.

The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said Christodoulides and Borrell continued discussions that took place during the recent EU Foreign Affairs Council.

They discussed the next steps and more specifically how there can be a de-escalation of the situation with Turkey withdrawing from Cyprus waters.

The European Council will meet next month to discuss sanctions against Turkey which Nicosia is pushing for as it blocks similar EU moves over election fraud in Belarus as leverage.

Although Greece and Turkey have decided to enter into a dialogue, Nicosia argues that Ankara is still violating the country’s sovereignty.