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Brussels stands firm against Turkey energy search

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Cyprus said Friday it was satisfied with EU leaders reaffirming their message to Turkey to de-escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean by calling off its energy search in the region.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis informed the European Council in Brussels of Ankara’s renewed bid to send research ships inside their territorial waters.

Anastasiades also raised the opening of fenced-off Vrosha by Turkey, in violation of UN resolutions.

On Friday, the European Council reaffirmed its conclusions of 1-2 October and “deplores renewed unilateral and provocative actions by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, including recent exploratory activities”.

“The European Council urges respect for UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789, underlines the importance of the status of Varosha and reiterates its full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.”

EU leaders urged Turkey to “reverse these actions and work for the easing of tensions in a consistent and sustained manner”.

In a statement, Anastasiades welcomed the fact the European Council condemns Turkey’s “new unilateral and provocative actions” in the Eastern Mediterranean and calls for respect of UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789 concerning Varosha.

“It is considered important that the European Council calls on Turkey to reverse its actions with a view to a lasting and stable de-escalation while stating that it will continue to monitor the issue.”

Two weeks after their last summit where leaders discussed economic sanctions, the EU has so far failed to persuade Ankara to stop exploring in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

Turkey said on Wednesday it was restarting operations of a survey ship that it withdrew last month.

EU leaders had agreed on October 2 to give Turkey until December before considering economic sanctions and Germany, which has so far led the diplomatic effort, wants to give dialogue a chance.

Cyprus is frustrated that, in addition to the Turkish exploration ship off a Greek island, Turkey has sent another vessel to Cyprus’ economic zone to conduct seismic surveys.

Despite EU calls to withdraw Ankara says it has every right to do what it’s doing.