US ambassador backs Nicosia's right to explore for oil, does not see problems from Turkey for Exxon

TAGS: Cyprus, Turkey, Energy, Diplomacy

The US Ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen Doherty on Wednesday underlined Washington's support for Nicosia's right to explore and develop oil resources in its economic zone and, regarding Exxon's drilling in the region, said she did not anticipate any problems from Turkey.

"The United States has consistently reiterated its support for the Republic of Cyprus’ right to develop its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone," she told a news briefing.

"At the same time, we have noted that we believe the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement."

However, she noted that finding deposits and then commercializing them may take several years.

She added that a "just and lasting settlement" of the Cyprus problem would "greatly facilitate" the development of the resources and help ensure they benefit all Cypriots.

Regional security issues, the management of Eastern Mediterranean energy resources, bilateral relations, and the Cyprus problem will be on the agenda of talks when Wess Mitchell, US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, visits Cyprus on Friday, Doherty said. 

Doherty is due in Athens on Thursday where the same issues, as well as relations with Turkey and talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are expected to be discussed.