CAIRO – 20 January 2020: Egypt affirms supporting the rights and sovereignty of Cyprus concerning its resources in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, within the framework of international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Egyptian foreign ministry said.
In a statement published late on Sunday, the foreign ministry spokesman warned against the repercussions of any unilateral measures that violate Cypriot rights and threaten the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean Region, stressing the need to adhere to the rules and provisions of international law.
The European Union (EU) signaled in July that it will put on hold high-level talks with Ankara and negotiations on an air transport agreement, as well as freezing funding for Turkey next year, over “illegal” drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus.
There are rules in exploring energy resources in the Mediterranean Sea, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in October, warning Turkey not to engage in drilling activity that is “illegal” and “unacceptable”.
“We’ve made clear that operations in international waters are governed by a set of rules. We’ve told the Turks that illegal drilling is unacceptable and we’ll continue to take diplomatic actions to ... ensure that lawful activity takes place,” he said during a visit to Greece.
“No country can hold Europe hostage,” Pompeo told a press briefing.
In December, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has stressed that Berlin stands in solidarity with Athens and Nicosia, calling Ankara to respect international law.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed the European Council’s support for Greece and Cyprus following the maritime borders agreement signed between Ankara and the Libyan government, adding that the Council is working to bring sanctions against Turkey.
The German official also met with her Cypriot counterpart, Savvas Angelidis, who told Cyprus media that Berlin has pledged to implement any targeted sanctions approved by the EU over Turkey’s illegal energy drilling operations in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
“Apart from Germany’s solidarity with Cyprus, the German minister said she will assume initiatives in the context of her responsibilities and on an EU level so that the EU summit decisions will be implemented giving the right messages with regard to Turkey’s behavior,” Angelides was quoted as saying.