Cyprus said it was well within its rights to carry out exploration in a particular offshore area, rejecting Turkish claims as unfounded and beyond any reasonable geographical limits.
The Republic was responding to Turkish allegations included in a letter to the UN in April.
In a May 4 letter, circulated as a UN Security Council document, the island’s permanent representative, Kornilios Korniliou, rejected Ankara’s claims concerning block 6, stressing that exploration licensed by the Republic was without a doubt inside its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The offshore exploration for block 6, declared and licensed by the Republic of Cyprus, is undoubtedly within the exclusive economic zone/continental shelf of Cyprus, in a marine area that lies to the south-west of Cyprus and that has already been delimited, in accordance with the relevant rules of international law, between the relevant opposite coastal States, namely the Republic of Cyprus and the Arab Republic of Egypt, by means of an exclusive economic zone delimitation agreement (2003),” Korneliou said. “The exploration and/or exploitation of block 6 is an exclusive sovereign right of Cyprus in accordance with international law and does not affect the rights of any third State, including Turkey.”
The assertions “made on the part of Turkey are thus legally unfounded and beyond any reasonable geographical limits,” Korneliou said.
He added that the Republic was determined to uphold and protect its sovereign rights to explore and exploit its natural resources within its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, using all peaceful means at its disposal, in good faith and within the framework of international law.
Turkey claims that part of block 6 falls within its own continental shelf. In a letter addressed to the UN General Assembly dated April 12, Turkey’s permanent representative to the United Nations Feridun Sinirlioglu expressed “grave concern” regarding Cyprus’ “provocative act” to grant an exploration licence for Block 6.
The licence was awarded to a consortium of Italian and French oil giants Eni and Total.