Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has briefed the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on the progress of the UN – led Cyprus negotiations to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem as well as on the Turkish threats in response to moves by the Republic of Cyprus to proceed with exploratory drilling for natural gas or oil in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
President Christofias hosted Friday in New York a luncheon for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which was also attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Marcoullis, Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou and Cyprus` Permanent Representative to the UN Minas Hadjimichael.
According to diplomatic sources, discussion was constructive and the five permanent members considered as interesting the position of President Christofias for joint exploitation – with the Turkish Cypriots – of natural resources after the solution of the Cyprus problem, as well as that any revenue from natural gas would benefit the Turkish Cypriot community even without a solution of the Cyprus problem.
Meanwhile, speaking at the Annual Gala of the Cyprus Federation of America in New York, President Christofias referred to the recent Turkish aggression in the Mediterranean against Cyprus` sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
As an economic power, and a political and military power, Turkey can not control herself. Her foreign policy is described by arrogance and cynicism which I think that at the end of the day will turn against her. When you have the power and you don`t know how to handle it, you may eventually damage yourself“ the President stressed.
Commenting on Turkish Prime Minister`s Recep Tayyip Erdogan`s speech at the UN General Assembly he said that Erdogan criticized Israel for not respecting UN resolutions for the Palestinians. The President pointed out that Turkey continues to violate a series of UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus, which dennounce the Turkish occupation of Cyprus` northern territory, the declaration of the so called state in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus as well as the violation of human rights.
Regarding Turkeys threats against Cyprus, which began exploration drilling for natural gas in its EEZ, President Christofias stressed that the UNSC, as well as its five permanent member states separately, have defended the right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore its Exclusive Economic Zone for hydrocarbon reserves.
He also denounced the illegal agreement signed between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf. The Cypriot President reiterated that Turkish Cypriots, beeing equal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus like their compatriots the Greek Cypriots, will also benefit from any wealth found in Cyprus` EEZ.
Furthermore, President Christofias thanked the Greek government for its support towards Cyprus stressing that relations between Cyprus and Greece are longstanding and despite the financial problems faced in Greece, the government in Athens always places the Cyprus issue as its priority.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.
Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based Noble Energy, off Cyprus south-eastern coast.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkeys moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
UN-led talks are currently underway between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to reach a negotiated settlement that would reunify the island.