Italy reiterated on Wednesday its full solidarity with Cyprus over Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities inside the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
A joint statement issued by the foreign ministries of Cyprus and Italy after a meeting in Rome between ministers Nicos Christodoulides and Luigi Di Maio, noted that the delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue, with respect for international law.
The statement was in response to Turkey recently dispatching a drillship to conduct operations off the southern coast of Cyprus, in block 8 of Cyprus’ EEZ. Italy’s ENI holds the drilling licence for block 8 along with French energy giant Total.
The two sides also agreed on the need to expedite the implementation of an EU decision to finalise the sanctions targeting those who are involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons inside Cyprus’ EEZ.
According to the statement, Christodoulides and Di Maio discussed bilateral relations, the Libyan crisis, migration, recent developments in Eastern Mediterranean and energy related issues.
“Recalling the Conclusions of the European Council of October and December 2019, Italy reiterated its full solidarity with Cyprus on Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities in Eastern Mediterranean, completely disregarding Cyprus’ sovereignty and sovereign rights,” the joint statement said.
It added that the two countries agreed that delimitation of EEZs and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of international law and in accordance with the principle of good neighbourly relations.
The ministers reiterated that a maritime delimitation deal between Turkey and Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), was unacceptable, it infringed upon the sovereign rights of third states, did not comply with the UN Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states.
“It is only through a genuine and good faith cooperation, that natural resources in the Mediterranean will benefit all peoples living in the region” the announcement said.
While in Rome, Christodoulides was to also meet with energy company ENI CEO Claudio Descalzi.