‘Barbaros’ must leave the South’s EEZ so talks can restart

The Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos (R) and South Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides (L) have said that the Cyprus negotiations can only restart if the Turkish seismic ship ‘Barbaros’ withdraws from [South] Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and Ankara gives “concrete proof” that such actions will not be repeated, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

The statement was made after the first joint meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Energy of Cyprus and Greece, held in Athens.

Turkey and the TRNC remain adamant that they will continue hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

In addition, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports that after the same meeting, Ioannis Kasoulides said that drilling in Bloc 9 of the [South] Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will proceed as planned.

He said that this meeting is proof of the two countries’ willingness to further cooperate in these areas.

“All the countries of the Mediterranean can cooperate, taking advantage of their sea wealth, for the interest and the prosperity of our people,” he added.

The Greek Cypriot Minister also said that Ankara should recognise that the interests of the Turkish Cypriots, as regards Cyprus’ natural resources, have already been safeguarded within the framework of the negotiations. He said that there is already convergence regarding the issue of natural resources, which will come under federal responsibility and will be distributed in a fair manner for the benefit of all Cypriots.

Meanwhile Greek Foreign Minister Venizelos was critical of Turkey’s stance and said that the ‘Barbaros’ survey ship’s presence in [South] Cyprus’ EEZ is illegal and that the Greek government would always cooperate with the [South] Cypriot government in order to deal with challenges made by Turkey.

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