Cyprus Mail

EIB set to keep tight Turkey restrictions in place (update 2)

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The European Union’s lending arm, the European Investment Bank, expects to keep its lending heavily restricted in Turkey this year, as an EU row with Ankara over oil and gas drilling off Cyprus rumbles on.

Asked about the EIB’s lending restrictions, a spokesman for the bank on Tuesday told Reuters it would continue to act “in line with the approach adopted by EU Member States and the EU Commission.”

He added: “Unless there is a change in direction at EU level, we will probably maintain the selective approach (to lending in Turkey) we have had in the past couple of years, at least for the foreseeable future”.

In Israel, President Nicos Anastasiades condemned Turkey as a “a destroyer with its military threats, illegal drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ and threats to settle the closed city of Famagusta.”

“The most important thing is to send a clear message to all those who are engaging in illegal activities, that their actions have consequences – not only in Cyprus but also in the wider region,” Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said.

He was speaking to the CyBC about his trip to the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday where the issues were discussed.

Turkey plans to conduct a drilling operation off the south coast of Cyprus, and its Yavuz drillship is already in block 8.

“It is not respecting or even taking into consideration international law,” Christodoulides added. “Whatever Turkey is saying to try and cover its illegal actions will not succeed as it is internationally understood what is happening.”

In Cyprus, the British High Commission said the UK deplores Turkish drilling in the waters around Cyprus and continues to call for de-escalation.

“The UK has been clear from the start that we deplore Turkish drilling in the waters around Cyprus. We continue to call for de-escalation. The UK has consistently stated our support for the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign right to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone,” a spokesperson of the British High Commission in Nicosia told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

“The most enduring way of resolving difficult issues such as this is to achieve a Cyprus settlement. We encourage all parties to redouble their efforts in pursuit of this.”

The government has condemned Turkey’s new illegal drilling within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic.

“This new attempted drilling constitutes yet another flagrant violation of the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as the relevant customary International Law, and completely disregards the international EEZ delimitation agreements already in force between Cyprus and Israel, and Cyprus and Egypt, respectively,” a statement issued by the Presidency said.


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