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EU foreign ministers condemn Turkish violation of Cyprus’ EEZ, Greek airspace

YANNIS PALAIOLOGOS

TAGS: EU, Diplomacy

The foreign ministers of the European Union condemned on Friday the violation of Greek airspace and territorial waters by Turkey and Ankara's drilling plans in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) during a teleconference.

According to the final draft of the joint statement, the EU said it is “in full solidarity” with Cyprus and reiterates that “tangible steps are needed to create a climate conducive to dialogue.”

“We condemn the fact that Turkey has not yet responded to repeated calls from the EU to stop these activities and we reiterate our call on Turkey to show restraint, to avoid such moves and to respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus, as defined by international law,” the ministers said.

The statement welcomed Cyprus's invitation to Turkey to “negotiate in good faith” the limits of their maritime economic zones and stressed that “recent escalating actions by Turkey [with the new drilling ship in the Cypriot EEZ ] are moving in the opposite direction.”

Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, the ministers also condemned the "escalation of violations of Greek territorial waters and airspace” by Turkey, which includes overflights over residential areas, in violation of international law.

Commenting about situation in the Eastern Mediterranean at the press conference, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said: “We uphold our principles and interests. We will continue our diplomatic engagement with Turkey to try to steer our relationship towards a cooperative and constructive approach.”

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