Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said Wednesday diplomatic efforts to end a standoff with Turkey over natural gas exploration continued, as Italy warned it could eventually affect the entire area.
“Nothing has finished, diplomatic efforts continue,” the minister told reporters. “We are in constant communication with the company. Be patient.”
For the past two weeks Turkish warships, claiming to be participating in military drills in waters off the east of the island, stopped the Saipem 12000 drillship while en route to Cuttlefish, a site in block 3 where it was scheduled to drill an exploratory gas well on behalf of Italian company ENI.
Lakkotrypis said diplomatic efforts continued towards all directions and on all levels.
Citing Italian foreign ministry sources, Ansamed news service reported on Wednesday that Italy was willing to look for every possible diplomatic solution, in the respect of international law, to an issue that did not concern bilateral relations between Italy and Turkey, but relations and balances that are also economic between the Republic of Cyprus and the island’s northern part.
“A potential negative outcome of ongoing efforts to define agreed procedures on search activities would risk compromising the potential for growth and benefits of the whole area,” the source was quoted as saying.
In Cyprus meanwhile, President Nicos Anastasiades briefed the council of party leaders on the developments.
According to government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, the leaders expressed their views on the situation and the actions they thought the government should engage in.
The council unanimously condemned the Turkish actions in the EEZ and supports the government’s efforts to secure the island’s sovereign rights, the spokesman said.