THE GOVERNMENT plans to submit coordinates, regarding its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the sea north of the island, to the United Nations in the coming days. It would also try to engage in discussions with Turkey about the delineation of its EEZ, in that part of the sea, reported Philelefteros on Sunday.
Asked about the report by the Cyprus News Agency, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides avoided being specific. He said the government was taking decisions for securing the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.
The daily, citing unnamed sources, said that Nicosia had already prepared the coordinates, which it would submit to the UN. The government would follow the same procedure it had followed in the past in agreeing the sea area of its EEZ with Egypt, Israel and Lebanon.
“The government is taking decisions regarding all issues in an absolutely serious manner, with specific planning and without fanfare, to safeguard the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus,” Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency.
Nicosia has signed an agreement to delineate the EEZ with Egypt and Israel and embarked on exploration and exploitation activities for any possible natural gas and oil reserves. A similar agreement to delineate the EEZ was signed with Lebanon, but has not been ratified yet.
The reported government decision was in response to Turkey’s announcement that it would begin exploration drilling in the sea off Cyprus, the daily said.
The same source told Phileleftheros that plans to delineate the Republic’s EEZ in the sea north of island were not new, but that the political decision to go ahead was taken only recently.
Turkey, which is not a signatory of the Law of the Sea Convention, has claims on the sea north of Cyprus arguing that it is part of its continental shelf. It has been disputing Cyprus’ exploration rights for years.
Turkey claims that part of Cyprus’ off-shore block 1, as well as the north part of blocks 4, 5, 6 and 7 fall within its continental shelf.
Opposition parties however saw the government decision as another election ploy by President Nicos Anastasiades, accusing him of taking up the proposal by Diko leader and presidential candidate Nicolas Papadopoulos.
Akel spokesman, Stefanos Stefanou, said that even though the government’s decision was not a negative one, Turkey would never enter into dialogue with the RoC as it does not recognise it.
“Such an arrangement can only be achieved through a settlement of the Cyprus problem,” Stefanou said. He added that this “pre-election action” of the government is a justification of the “unrealistic position” of Papadopoulos.
“This position of Nicolas Papadopoulos leads to the perpetuation of occupation, which hurt and does not secure the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus,” Stefanou said.
Papadopoulos said that the selective adoption of some of his proposals by Anastasiades on the eve of the election was proof of the failed policy that he followed. He also said that it was a proof of Anastasiades’ lack of credibility.
“He attempts with such moves to fool the people that he can continue his failed policy,” Papadopoulos said.
Socialist Edek too criticised the government for copying Papadopoulos’ proposal. Anastasiades and his associates, Edek said, in their effort to justify re-claiming the vote of the people, attempt to hide their responsibilities, to deceive and to misinform the people by copying proposals that have been already presented by parties that support Papadopoulos’ candidacy.
“That is why we believe that the people ought to […] choose and support the original and not the copy,” Edek said.
The Solidarity Movement said that the constant transformations of the president only reinforced his lack of credibility both within the country and abroad.