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12° Nicosia,
19 June, 2021
 
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Cyprus open to defining maritime zones

Cypriot foreign minister says Republic willing to engage on defining maritime zones with neighbouring countries

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Cyprus said on Tuesday it was willing to engage with all its neighbours on defining maritime boundaries, amid a tense stand-off with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean over jurisdiction in the energy-rich waters.

Greece and Cyprus are locked in a dispute with Turkey over overlapping claims to areas thought to be rich in natural gas. Two Turkish survey vessels are in areas claimed by Greece and Cyprus, with Ankara saying it has rights over the areas in question.

But Christodoulides also called on the EU to use a carrot-and-stick approach with countries that have 'troubling relations' with the bloc

While not referring to Turkey directly, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said the island had maritime deals with Egypt, Israel and Lebanon “and was ready to discuss with other neighboring states on establishing sea zones.”

But Christodoulides, who held emergency talks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Nicosia on Tuesday, also called on the European Union to use the carrot-and-stick approach with countries that have “troubling relations” with the bloc.

Cairo approves deal with Athens

On the same day, the Egyptian lawmakers approved a maritime deal setting the country’s Mediterranean Sea boundary with Greece and demarcating an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights, the state-run news agency reported.

The deal, signed earlier this month, angered Turkey, which vowed to resume its disputed oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Egyptian-Greek move was widely seen as a response to a disputed agreement between the governments of Turkey and Libya that spiked tensions in the East Mediterranean region.

(Reporting by Kathimerini Greece)

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