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Turkey in Syria and Cyprus EEZ on agenda of EU FMs meeting (Update 1)

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides with the EU's Federica Mogherini

EU member states will discuss how far they are ready to go on some measures that are on the table when it comes to the Turkish military activities in Syria, but also the drillings in Cyprus, High Representative and Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini told media on Monday morning in Luxemburg.

The Turkish operation in Syria and the continued illegal drilling in the EEZ of Cyprus are the two main issues at the meeting chaired by Mogherini.

“You know that today we are mainly discussing the military operations in Syria. To me the most important point will be the fact that we are hosting the UN Special Envoy for Syria, [Geir] Pedersen. We will discuss with him how we can help protect the political process from this new military escalation. And obviously, as you know, Member States will discuss how far they are ready to go on some measures that are on the table when it comes to the Turkish military activities in Syria, but also the drillings in Cyprus.”

“This meeting is important not only for the decisions it could take, but also to prepare the European Council. Because as you know, the European Council later this week will have the same two topics on the agenda, among others. It will also be useful to prepare the meeting of heads of state and government on these two issues,” she said.

The Council adopted conclusions on Turkish drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean on July 15, 2019. In light of Turkey’s continued and new illegal drilling activities, the Council decided to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being. The Council endorsed the Commission’s proposal to reduce the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending.

In accordance with the European Council conclusions of 20 June, the Council invited the High Representative and the Commission to continue work on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Council undertook to closely monitor developments and to revert to this issue as appropriate.

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