Cyprus says Turkish warships continue to block drilling rig

Cyprus says Turkish warships continue to block drilling rig

Cyprus’s government spokesman says Turkish warships continue to impede a rig from reaching a location off the east Mediterranean island where Italian energy company Eni is scheduled to drill for gas.

Nicos Christodoulides told state broadcaster RIK Monday the rig remains stopped some 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the drilling target off the island’s southeastern coast.

Christodoulides said Turkish warships prevented other merchant vessels from approaching the area, citing military maneuvers.

He said a Turkish notice binding the area for such maneuvers expires Feb. 22, but Cyprus says it violates international law.

Turkey opposes what it says is a “unilateral” Cypriot government hydrocarbons search because it disregards the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the ethnically split island’s natural resources.

Christodoulides said Cyprus and Eni are focused on ensuring that drilling proceeds. [AP]

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