By Evie Andreou and Peter Michael
President Nicos Anastasiades will depart on Wednesday for Brussels to attend the EU leaders’ summit taking place later in the week in the hope of getting some support for the island over Turkish drilling in the EEZ and its recent agreement with Libya.
The European Council will take place on Thursday and Friday.
Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushios told state broadcaster CyBC on Tuesday it was deemed necessary for the Cypriot delegation to depart for Brussels earlier since Anastasiades will have a series of meetings with other EU leaders and EU officials.
“The aim and purpose is to achieve the best possible resolution and the best possible outcome with regard to the sanctions that must be imposed on Turkey in order to force it to stop, or pay the cost if it does not stop the illegal actions, which are occurring daily in a different form,” he said.
He said the government was stepping up efforts to achieve the most positive results at the forthcoming EU leaders’ summit on measures against Ankara for its continued illegal actions against the Republic of Cyprus.
Koushios also said that Anastasiades, in consultation and coordination with the Greek government, would raise the issues that concern Cyprus and Greece before the European Council.
On Monday, Anastasiades, had a telephone conversation with the President of the European Council Charles Michel, with whom he discussed a series of issues that will be on the summit’s agenda.
They also discussed the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between Libya and Turkey on the delimitation of their EEZs, an issue that the European Council is expected to address.
The EU foreign ministers on Monday said the agreement was of great concern expressing solidarity with Cyprus and Greece.
The Greek foreign minister on Monday asked the bloc to formulate a framework of sanctions on Turkey and Libya if the agreement is not rescinded.
Meanwhile, the Greek government on Tuesday said it has lodged objections to the United Nations over the agreement between Turkey and Libya as a violation of international law.
Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador in response to the deal last week, infuriated at a pact which skirts the Greek island of Crete and infringes, in Athens’ view, its continental shelf.
“This agreement was compiled in bad faith,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.
“It violates the (UN) Law of the Sea. The sea zones of Turkey and Libya do not meet, and nor is there a sea border between the two states,” Petsas said.
Turkey, on the other hand, argues that the agreement was in line with international law.
A row over eastern Mediterranean gas reserves offshore has become increasingly shrill with countries in the region jostling to stake their claims.
Greece and Turkey are also at loggerheads over mineral rights in the Aegean Sea, and Greece has accused the internationally-recognised Libyan government of deceiving Athens by negotiating the deal with Ankara signed last month.
It carves out a slanting sea corridor of maritime boundaries at the closest points between Libya and Turkey, potentially clearing the way for an oil and gas search there.