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Turkish Navtex will not affect drilling plans, govt says

The series of navigational warnings (Navtex) issued by Turkey, by which it reserved swathes of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), are illegitimate and in any case they do not affect the island’s ongoing gas exploration programme, the government said on Thursday.

Cyprus will press on with its energy plans regardless, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told reporters.

“To us, these [Turkish] Navtex, these notices to mariners, do not exist. They have already been cancelled, and no one takes them into account or imparts any legitimacy to them.”

The best response to the usual Turkish bravado in the eastern Mediterranean, he added, is the continuation of Cyprus’ gas exploration activities.

“At the moment, there is in progress an important drill and we hope to have the results soon,” he said, referring to the ongoing exploratory drill by companies Total and ENI in offshore block 6.

The results of the drill, which began in late December, are expected in early February.

Asked whether the results might be announced between the first and second round of the presidential elections, Christodoulides said this was entirely up to the companies.

The implication of the reporter’s question was that the Disy-led government might seek to score political points in the midst of the electoral process.

“I cannot at this time be more specific as to the timeline, nor would it be responsible of me to comment on that,” Christodoulides responded.

After concluding its operations in block 6, the drillship will almost immediately head to block 3 – also licensed to ENI – for another exploratory drill. The target in block 3 is codenamed ‘Soupia’ (cuttlefish).

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