The US has been deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intention to begin drilling in the waters off Cyprus and has urged Turkish authorities to halt these operations, US Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber said on Thursday evening. She was speaking during the Independence Day reception hosted at the US Embassy in Nicosia, in the presence of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer.
Garber noted that the US recognizes the right of the Republic of Cyprus to develop resources in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). “We also believe these resources should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement. It is our earnest hope that such resources will soon benefit a united Cyprus,” she added.
The US ambassador said that the discovery of hydrocarbons in the EEZ of Cyprus offers great promise. Washington hopes that the resources promote prosperity in the entire Eastern Mediterranean and help to diversify Europe’s energy supply, she noted.
Anastasiades expressed in his address the deep appreciation of Cyprus to the US government for the firm stance “on this crucial matter through opposing to Turkey’s illegal drilling plans and fully supporting the unhindered exercise by the Republic of its sovereign rights to explore and exploit its natural resources.” He also expressed his sincere appreciation for the principled stance of the US government on the Cyprus problem and the unwavering support in reaching a lasting and comprehensive settlement.
“Our aim remains none other than to maintain the current momentum and to continue working on a positive agenda so as to further reinforce this mutually beneficial relationship,” Anastasiades said.
Garber noted that the US continues to support efforts by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, facilitated by the United Nations, to forge a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem that will reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation. [Kathimerini Cyprus]