The United States discourages any actions or rhetoric that increase tensions in the region, a State Department official said on Tuesday, amid Turkish warnings that it will prevent natural gas exploration in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The US policy on Cyprus’s EEZ is longstanding and has not changed: the United States recognizes the right of the Republic of Cyprus to develop its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone. We continue to believe the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement. We discourage any actions or rhetoric that increase tensions in the region”, the official added.
Ankara has repeatedly warned Cyprus against taking “unilateral steps” in exploring and developing hydrocarbons without factoring in the Turkish Cypriots with whom Ankara signed a ‘continental shelf delineation agreement’ in 2001.
Turkey’s claims on the island’s EEZ partly overlap with Cyprus’ blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7. Ankara also supports the north’s claims on blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13, including within few kilometres from the Aphrodite gas field in block12.