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‘Cyprus does not pursue policy of confrontation’

The Turkish drillship Fatih

The Republic of Cyprus does not pursue a policy of confrontation and limits itself to the exercise of its sovereign rights in its own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), president Nicos Anastasiadis told the Greek daily Ta Nea in an interview published on Saturday.

“I want to highlight that we do not follow the rhetorical confrontation that Turkey is pushing for,” Anastasiades said, responding to whether he is concerned about a heated development in view Ankara’s behaviour over hydrocarbons.

Anastasiades added that he considers particularly important the upcoming Southern EU countries (MED7) Summit which will convene on Tuesday in Nicosia, the agenda of which includes Europe’s energy security.

On Friday Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would begin drilling for resources around Cyprus.

Turkey will start drilling around Cyprus because the Greek Cypriot government did not listen to Ankara’s suggestions to ensure the rights of Turkish Cypriots, Cavusoglu said during an interview following a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

“Our second platform is coming in February. We were going to send it to the Black Sea, now we are sending it to the Cyprus area,” Cavusoglu said.

“Our drill ship Fatih is currently in the Alanya-1 area, its work there will be done in March. We are shifting that to the south too,” he added.

The MED7Summit, Anastasiades said, will hopefully reignite interest in Mediterranean Europe and its “frontier role.”

“The meeting is also of particular importance for Cyprus, which is at Europe’s border with the Middle East, in an area where major European issues such as security and immigration play out,” Anastasiades sad.

Meanwhile, he noted, the solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN frameworks and European principles and values will contribute to Cyprus’ international cooperation, benefitting both the region and EU-Turkey relations.

Anastasiades highlighted however that since the negotiations at Crans-Montana, Turkey has not changed its stance, prolonging the current stagnation which is a source of concern for the Greek Cypriot side.

“We do agree however with the approach of the UN Secretary-General regarding the prerequisite of appropriate preparation before negotiations can restart,” Anastasiades said, adding that “this is what we are working towards with Lute, to form the terms of reference.”

In response to a question about the possibility of Nato guarantees in Cyprus, Anastasiades stressed that there can be no solution to the Cyprus problem with Turkey as a guarantor power and with rights of intervention.

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