US backs Cyprus over energy rights

In a rare show of support for Cyprus in the face of Turkish provocations, the US State Department on Thursday backed Nicosia’s right to seek offshore energy deposits and indirectly condemned Ankara after a Turkish warship harassed a Norwegian-flagged vessel prospecting for oil and gas off Cyprus last weekend.

“We support Cyprus’s right to explore for energy in its offshore areas,” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told a press briefing in Washington, adding that any oil and gas resources “should be equitably shared between both communities.”

Referring to a visit to Cyprus by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland earlier this week, Psaki said, “She conveyed it’s important to avoid actions that may increase tensions in the region.”

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