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Greece backs targeted Turkey sanctions

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Greece supports Cyprus in seeking targeted sanctions against Turkey for violating its territorial water in exploratory gas drilling, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexandros Gennimatas said on Friday.

Gennimatas was replying to a question over the possibility of the EU imposing sanctions against Ankara due to the tensions with Greece and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Greece firmly supports Cyprus’ position to impose targetted sanctions on people and entities involved in Turkey’s ongoing gas-exploration activities inside the island country’s exclusive economic zone,” the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson said.

At the UN General Assembly, President Nicos Anastasiades said he was committed to reunification talks but not at gunpoint, after Nicosia blocked European Union policy-making on Belarus due to lack of action against Turkey.

Cyprus – backed by Greece – is at odds with Turkey over maritime energy resources. It is blocking EU sanctions on Minsk until the bloc takes a tougher stance towards Ankara.

“For the (Cyprus peace) talks to resume with realistic prospects for success, it is imperative to create an environment which will be conducive for constructive and good faith negotiations… not under conditions of intimidation or threats,” Anastasiades said in his address to the UNGA Thursday.

Turkey has dispatched survey vessels close to Cyprus in areas where Nicosia has licenced to multinationals to explore for oil and gas.

The latest attempt at UN-backed reunification collapsed in disarray in July 2017.

Anastasiades repeated that his administration was willing to place any revenues from gas exploration into an escrow account for the Turkish Cypriot community.