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US says Cyprus energy riches must be shared as part of a solution

TAGS: Cyprus, Energy, Diplomacy, Turkey

Cyprus’s oil and gas resources should be equitably shared between both communities on the island in the context of an overall settlement, said Jonathan Cohen, US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Cohen replied in writing to questions submitted by Bob Menendez, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee moved without a vote the confirmation of the Ambassadorial Nominee, Jonathan Cohen, to the full Senate, where he is expected to receive an easy approval.

Cohen was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations.

On the role the Security Council should play in addressing Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, Cohen said: “If confirmed, I will continue to support longstanding US policy recognizing the Republic of Cyprus’s right to develop its resources in its EEZ. The island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities on the island in the context of an overall settlement.”

Cohen said he will “discourage any actions or rhetoric that increases tensions.”

He said it is “important that the countries in the region continue to create the conditions that will facilitate peaceful economic development and enable companies to operate in a stable and predictable environment.”

On UNFICYP, the UN Peacekeeping Force on Cyprus, Cohen said that he will urge the Security Council to continue to review all peacekeeping missions through the prism of the US peacekeeping principles.

He said stability in the Eastern Mediterranean was key for Washington.

“Stability in the Eastern Mediterranean is a top priority for the Administration. If confirmed, I would be willing to take steps to enhance the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus,” Cohen said.

I will continue to support the high-level US engagement with the Republic of Cyprus on the settlement process and on the wide range of other issues of common concern to both countries,” he said.

Earlier this year, the SAIPEM 12000 drillship, commissioned by Italian energy company ENI, to start exploration in block 3 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone was halted by five Turkish warships, it abandoned mission due to Turkish threats.

A Conference on Cyprus, in the context of UN-led reunification talks, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana last summer, ended in failure. [Kathimerini Cyprus]


 

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