US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell reiterated to reporters in Nicosia on Friday that Washington supports Cyprus’s right to explore and exploit its natural resources and that it wants to see a resumption of peace talks to reunify the island.
Mitchell made his remarks after meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on the last stop of his regional tour, which also included Athens, Belgrade, Skopje and Prsitina.
Turkey has repeatedly warned that it will not allow Cyprus to “unilaterally” develop its natural resources without the involvement of Turkish Cypriots in the Turkish-occupied north of the island.
ExxonMobil and partners Qatar Petroleum plan to start drilling off the island’s coast later this year. Last month, a rig chartered by Italian energy giant Eni was prevented from conducting exploratory drilling in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone by Turkish warships.