EU calls for restraint in dispute over drilling around Cyprus

"All parties should exercise restraint and do their utmost to facilitate successful completion of this process," Maja Kocijancic said.

EU calls for restraint in dispute over drilling around Cyprus

The European Commission on Monday called for restraint in a tension heightened by the Greek Cypriot administration when it announced that it would start drilling for oil and gas around the Mediterranean island.

"The EU calls on all parties to make all efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible," Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told a regular briefing.

"All parties should exercise restraint and do their utmost to facilitate successful completion of this process," Maja Kocijancic said.

In 2010, Greek Cypriot administration and Israel signed an accord demarcating their maritime borders to facilitate a search for mineral deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek Cypriot administration has recently said it would begin oil and natural gas exploration and drilling was to start soon.

The move has drawn fierce criticism from Turkey which said it would make a continental shelf delimitation agreement with the TRNC in case Greek Cypriot administration launched drilling before a settlement was reached to end the 37-year old division of the island.

Turkey has also warned that it could send battle ships to escort its own energy exploration vessels in the region.

The Greek Cypriot side had signed a deal with a U.S.-based energy company to start drilling in an 324,000-hectare economic zone adjacent to the Israeli waters.

Cypriot leaders have been negotiating to reunify the island since 2008.

Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias earlier agreed this year to hold 19 rounds of intensified talks between July 25 and October 21 and discuss all core issues.

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Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2011, 16:01
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