x

Politics

US Supports Cyprus, Wants Closer East Med Gas Cooperation

LARNACA, Cyprus — The U.S. wants tighter cooperation on developing gas finds in the "strategically significant" eastern Mediterranean and supports Cyprus' right to exploit hydrocarbon deposits discovered in its waters, a senior U.S. State Department official said Sunday.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said hydrocarbon development would aim to "provide durable energy security and economic prosperity throughout the Mediterranean," according to the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus.

The statement was issued after Hale met with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to discuss the eastern Mediterranean's "growing strategic significance" as well as recent developments in the region, including the devastating Aug. 4 blast in Lebanon's capital of Beirut.

Hale's brief visit to the island nation came amid growing military tensions over Turkey's gas prospecting in waters where European Union members Greece and Cyprus say they have exclusive economic rights.

On Friday, EU foreign ministers expressed "full solidarity" with Greece and Cyprus and urged an "immediate de-escalation" by Turkey as Greek and Turkish navy ships shadowed each other. 

Turkey had earlier dispatched a pair of warship-escorted research vessels to explore the southeastern sides of both Crete and Cyprus. But on Sunday, Turkey appeared to be upping the ante by announcing that another drill ship, the Yavuz, would be conducting a month-long hydrocarbons search off Cyprus' southwestern coast. 

Turkey, which doesn't recognize ethnically divided Cyprus as a state, claims 44% of the island's economic zone as its own and insists it has every right to carry out such explorations in defense of its interests and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots.

The U.S. Embassy statement said Hale "reaffirmed American support for the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit its natural resources, including the hydrocarbons found in its territorial sea and exclusive economic zone."

The U.S. official added these resources should be "equitably shared between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities."

The Cyprus government has bemoaned what it called the EU's "appeasement" of Turkey, which has so far failed to rein in the country. It also says an apparent U.S. "disengagement" from the eastern Mediterranean has emboldened the Turkish government to exert further control over the region.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said Hale assured him that the U.S. remains committed to the eastern Mediterranean region.

Cyprus has licensed ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum, as well as Texas-based Noble Energy — bought out last month by Chevron — to drill for gas in its exclusive economic zone. 

Hale also lauded expanding U.S.-Cyprus security cooperation and reiterated American support for a resumption of stalled reunification talks.

——-

By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS Associated Press

Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed.

RELATED

NICOSIA - After decades of failure trying to reunify Cyprus, split by unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions, the United Nations Special Representative Colin William Stewart said it will stay that way, perhaps forever.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

After Amazon, Google’s First Cloud Region Coming to Greece

ATHENS - Despite having a costly Internet that’s the slowest in the European Union, Greece is continuing to attract high-tech giants, with Alphabet’s Google planning to create its first cloud region in the country.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.