Andreas Jacovides, Cyprus` former Ambassador to Washington, who negotiated and signed on behalf of the government of the Republic of Cyprus the UN Law of the Sea Convention, believes that references by the top UN envoy on the Cyprus problem to the sovereignty of states in their exclusive economic zone do not reflect the provisions of the said Convention.
Invited by CNA to comment on Espen Barth Eide`s remarks in an interview with CNA, Jacovides points out that “the correct position is not as stated by Eide,” who said “It is a question of how much a violation has actually happened because many countries do not see seismic exploration as a violation as long as they don`t lead to exploitation. Because the Economic Zone is not sovereign territory, anybody can basically do anything there but for taking out the resources. But that’s a very technical issue.”
Jacovides also said that Eide`s reference to “a hijack state” in Cyprus, with regard to the legal government of the Republic of Cyprus, is not correct either, noting that this is an allegation adopted by the Turkish side in the early 1960s.
The correct position, on the basis of the 1982 UN Convention, is stated in Articles 56 and 58 and in UN Security Council resolutions, Jacovides, who currently and for the past several years has also been a Faculty Member of the Rhodes Academy of Maritime Law and Policy (Virginia University,Max Planck Institute,Iceland Law of the Sea Institute,Rotterdam Law of the Sea Institute,Aegean Institute), explained.
“It is clear that seismic research by the Turkish vessel “Barbaros”, escorted by warships, contrary to the declared position of the Republic of Cyprus, is incompatible with these provisions of the Convention, which has become customary international law, having been adopted by the overwhelming number of the members of the international community,” Jacovides, special adviser to the Foreign Ministry on the Law of the Sea, has told CNA.
With regard to the reference to a “highjack state”, a Turkish allegation since December 1963, Jacovides points out that “SC resolution 186, adopted unanimously by the Council on 4 March 1964, makes not one but five references to the Government of Cyprus”, a fact which, as he notes, Eide seems to have overlooked.
In addition to that there are also the resolutions 541 and 550 which call on all states not to recognise the UDI, declared by the Turkish Cypriots in November 1983, and the self styled Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus, describing the unilateral declaration of independence as “legally invalid.”
According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and with reference to the legal status of the territorial sea, of the air space over the territorial sea and of its bed and subsoil “The sovereignty of a coastal State extends, beyond its land territory and internal waters and, in the case of an archipelagic State, its archipelagic waters, to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea. This sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its bed and subsoil. The sovereignty over the territorial sea is exercised subject to this Convention and to other rules of international law.”
In Part V, Article 56, paragraph 1, the Convention states “In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State has sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds.”
Article 58, paragraph 3 notes “In exercising their rights and performing their duties under this Convention in the exclusive economic zone, States shall have due regard to the rights and duties of the coastal State and shall comply with the laws and regulations adopted by the coastal State in accordance with the provisions of this Convention and other rules of international law in so far as they are not incompatible with this Part.”
Article 57 says that “The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.”