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UK tries to avoid further tension over Turkey in Med

22 October 2014

The UK Foreign Office has pointed to the UK’s lack of support of an EU demarche at the UN regarding Turkey’s marine activities in [South] Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone as its wish avoid further tension, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

In a statement to the Cyprus News Agency, a Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The UK did not support the EU demarche at the UN because this was an unusual procedure that risked raising tensions and frustrating the UN`s facilitation of the settlement talks. We want to reduce tensions and to encourage the parties to resume settlement talks. That remains our aim.”

The spokesperson repeated a previous statement stressing that the UK “recognises the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights to exploit mineral reserves in its EEZ”, and that it remains London’s position that “such resources should be exploited for the benefit of all the communities in Cyprus.”

The statement adds: “We regret that Turkey’s announcement of exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean has raised tensions and call on all parties to avoid inflammatory actions or statements.”

“This incident underlines the importance of a comprehensive settlement. We therefore hope that settlement talks can resume as soon as possible. The UK strongly supports the UN’s efforts to facilitate a lasting settlement,” the statement added.

Earlier this month, Turkey issued a NAVTEX warning to mariners that it would be carrying out seismic surveys between 20th October and 30th December offshore south Cyprus which is part of the South’s EEZ.

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