EU leaders to support Cyprus over EEZ rights

European Union leaders are expected to express “serious concern” on Friday at Turkey’s breach of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as it emerged on Thursday that a third Turkish warship is now sailing in the waters south of the island.

Draft conclusions of the EU summit in Brussels made available to the media on Thursday indicated that even though the issue of Cyprus had not been on the meeting’s original agenda, the leaders would refer to Turkey’s decision to send the seismic research vessel Barbaros into the Cypriot EEZ.

“The European Council expressed serious concern about the renewed tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the draft statement read. It called on Turkey to respect Cyprus’s sovereign rights.

The document also stated that it is “more important than ever to reach a comprehensive Cyprus settlement which would benefit all Cypriots.” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Thursday for the quick resumption of peace talks on the island. He also expressed “concern over the tensions that have arisen in relation to hydrocarbons.”

Turkey revealed on Thursday that a third navy ship is in the Cyprus EEZ to escort the Barbaros. Two frigates, the Giresun and the Gelibolu, and a corvette, the Bartin, are in the area.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was unable to attend Thursday’s talks in Brussels due to suffering nosebleeds caused by high blood pressure. He received treatment and was advised to rest for two days. He nominated Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to replace him at the meetings.

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