The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell joined the Cyprus defence minister Savvas Angelides on a helicopter ride over the Republic’s exclusive economic zone to observe the sea areas that are increasingly emerging as zones of contention.
Angelides posted a photo with Borrell on Twitter aboard the helicopter, expressing thanks to the European external action service and the European Commission for their support and solidarity.
“Cyprus has a key role to implement the EU Global strategy in the region preserving the International Law,” Angelides said.
Flying with @JosepBorrellF to observe the situation in #Cyprus EEZ. Thanks @eu_eeas & @EU_Commission for the #support & the #solidarity. Cyprus has a key role to implement the #EU Global strategy in the region preserving the International Law.— Savvas Angelides (@AngelidesSavvas) June 26, 2020
Borrell: Bloc committed to continue supporting the Republic
In a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades late on Thursday, Borrell said the EU condemns Turkish violations in the Republic’s maritime zones and conveyed the bloc’s determination to continue supporting the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
The meeting was also attended by foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides, defence minister Savvas Angelides and other officials. Borrell was accompanied by the head of the European Commission representation in Cyprus, Ierotheos Papadopoulos.
According to a written statement by the deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas, the President of Cyprus informed Borrell about unlawful Turkish actions and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. He also referred to the continuous efforts by the Cyprus government to maintain good neighbourly relations with all countries in the region, as well as Cyprus’ commitment to international law.
Anastasiades also expressed concern about Ankara’s expansionist designs, which he said, are fraught with perils for peace and security in the region.
The EU will continue sending clear signals to Ankara, for the respect of international law, and exert pressure for the immediate termination of Turkish violations, Borrell said, noting that he will convey these messages to Ankara personally.
Participants in the meeting also discussed the broader framework of EU-Turkey relations, in light of Turkey’s unacceptable policy and the lack of commitment towards its obligations, Sentonas noted.
Anastasiades thanked Borrell for the support and the solidarity he conveyed, reiterating that in order to be effective this solidarity needs to translate into action.
The President informed Borrell about a proposal he made to the Turkish Cypriot leader in relation to natural gas and expressed his readiness to resume talks for a Cyprus settlement as soon as possible.
Akinci disheartened that Borrell didn’t meet with Turkish Cypriot side
Turkish Cypriot media on Friday were reporting on the Turkish Cypriot leader’s disappointment that Borrell didn’t extend his talks in Cyprus to include the Turkish Cypriot side.
In a written statement, Mustafa Akinci said in the past he had met with the former president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the former European Parliament president Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Council Donald Tusk and former European Commission vice-president Federica Mogherini, both in his office and abroad.
“Mr Borrell noted that the EU was created to develop solutions through dialogue and that he wanted to come [to the island] in order to listen to the concerns of the Greek Cypriot side in order to find a way out of the deteriorating situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. But, talking about dialogue and assisting in the identification of a way out, he didn’t even bother to listen to the opinions and proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side,” Akinci said.
“This behaviour,” he went on, “does not match EU values, it is unacceptable.”
In his announcement, Akinci reminded EU officials of the Turkish Cypriot proposal for the co-management of natural resources issued on July 13 last year, involving the formation of a bicommunal committee for managing natural gas resources.
Akinci noted the proposal remains on the table, and that any attempt to exclude the Turkish Cypriot side will not assist in the resolution of problems, nor will it contribute to regional peace and stability.