Cyprus negotiations will not resume until Turkey backs off

The Cyprus negotiations will only resume when Turkeys cancels its plans to launch seismic survey operations in South Cyprus’ EEZ, a government spokesman for the South told TASS news agency, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

President Nicos Anastasiades cancelled a meeting with President Dervis Eroglu after Turkey issued a NAVTEX notice mariners that the seismic survey vessel ‘Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha’ would be operating offshore Cyprus between 20th October and 30th December.

Anastasiades, said Turkey’s actions were a grave violation of the [South] republic’s sovereign rights and announced a decision to suspend the talks.

“It was not an easy decision, but it was the only available option for us because it is not possible to discuss and find a solution towards the Cyprus problem under threats and blackmailing from Turkey,” spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told TASS.

The spokesman noted that Turkey’s NAVTEX note was issued only a few days ahead of a new phase of negotiations scheduled for 9th October which was intended to “bridge the gaps between the two sides.”

“We had no other option than to suspend negotiation in the process,” he said.

When asked when the talks will resume, Christodoulides said: “In order for us to decide to go back to negotiation we need from Turkey to cancel its NAVTEX. We are working towards this direction and we hope, as soon as possible, Turkey will cancel its NAVTEX and it will be possible for us to go back to the negotiation.”

Commenting on the reaction by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and the president of the European Council, he said: “We are happy with the public statements until now. There are also underway a number of initiatives, which are not public, from a number of friends who are willing and have power to do so, telling Turkey to cancel the NAVTEX.”

“We are expecting on how things will develop to have stronger statements from the international community,” he said.

At present, Italy’s Eni-Kogas constortium is making exploratory drilling for natural gas in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in compliance with the concession agreement with the [South] Cyprus government. Turkey, however, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and disputes the existing maritime borders in the East Mediterranean.

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