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Cyprus will not suspend its energy programme, president says

President Nicos Anastasiades

President Nicos Anastasiades said Cyprus will not bow to Turkish pressure to suspend its natural gas exploration programme as that would be a blow to the island’s sovereignty.

“Suspending our energy programme amid the threats would be what Turkey sought,” Anastasiades said in an interview with Euronews. “This would be a blow to the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.”

Contrary to international law and the United Nations Law of the Sea, Turkey, which does not recognise the RoC, insists that the island has no exclusive economic zone (EEZ), something which is established through the international agreements Cyprus has struck with Egypt and Israel, and a deal with Lebanon is close to the end, the president said.

Turkey considers that Cyprus’ EEZ, or part of it, belongs to an “inexistent state” which only Ankara recognises, Anastasiades said of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the island.

“Consequently, the threats, the provocations are obvious and the objectives equally obvious.”

He said the effort was to create a grey area or have the programme suspended until the Cyprus problem is resolved, Anastasiades told Euronews.

He said Cyprus will persist, through a series of diplomatic and legal measures, with the solidarity of the EU – “to the extent it (EU) can afford to be honest” – but also the UN, friendly countries, and the parties licenced to carry out exploration, “to protect the programme and the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.”

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