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US Denies Wanting to Join Turkey in Naval Exercise Off Cyprus

NICOSIA – US Ambassador Kathleen Ann Doherty said the United States did not ask Turkey to include an American ship in naval exercises in waters belonging to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

That came after Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot media reports that the US asked Turkey to issue a NAVTEX – an advisory claiming use of waters – with tension between Cyprus and Turkey over collapse of unity talks in July.

Doherty reaffirmed that “all US military exercises in any exclusive economic zone are done with due regard to the rights and duties of the coastal state in the EEZ as required under international law,” the Cyprus Mail reported.

The United States, she added, has also reiterated that it “recognizes the right of Cyprus to develop, explore and exploit its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.” She added that, “The United States did not request a NAVTEX,” although Turkey issued one that included a US warship scheduled to tug an underwater structure on July 31inside the Cypriot EEZ.

The boat was to operate in an area unlawfully in Cypriot sovereign waters that Turkey, in an earlier NAVTEX, claimed for “research by seismic research vessel Barbaros”.

Turkey is demanding a share of any potentially lucrative energy finds off the island where the legitimate Cypriot government has licensed international companies to drill.

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