Drilling operations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone will not be postponed and no pressure is exerted to this end, President Nicos Anastasiades said.
Speaking to an event in Limassol on Saturday evening, Anastasiades said that drilling operations will move forward as planned.
Commenting on whether the deadlock of the settlement talks in Switzerland would affect this, the president said that there was no link between the Republic’s drilling plans and Turkey’s responsibility for the collapse of the talks. Anastasiades also said he is to address the people on the matter on Monday.
Asked if any pressure is exerted and if there are any thoughts to postpone the drilling operations, Anastasiades said that neither pressure was exerted, nor the drilling operations were going to be postponed.
Despite the abrupt collapse of the Cyprus peace talks in Switzerland Thursday night, which threatens a severe deterioration in relations between the governments of the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, plans by French energy giant Total to start natural gas drilling in Block 11 of the island’s exclusive economic zone proceed as normal.
Total plans to start drilling in the block, located on the southern tip of Cyprus’ EEZ and adjacent to Block 12 (Aphrodite) and Zohr, the block in Egypt’s EEZ where a 30-trillion-cubic-feet reservoir was discovered in 2015, next week, when the arrival of the West Capella ultra-deepwater drillship is expected. The West Capella is en route to the drilling spot, with an estimated arrival date of July 12.
Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides wrote on his twitter account earlier on Saturday that President Anastasiades will inform on Monday the members of the National Council and subsequently the Cypriot people over what happened in Crans-Montana.
UN-backed talks that took place between June 28 and July 7, in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, ended inconclusively. Peace talks aim to reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, under a federal roof.