UN frustrated over Turkey stalling on envoy to Cyprus

UN frustrated over Turkey stalling on envoy to Cyprus

Ankara’s reluctance to give the green light for the arrival of Jane Holl Lute in Cyprus, as the Secretary-General’s personal envoy to probe the potential resumption of settlement talks is causing frustration at the United Nations, according to the CNA.

According to a well-informed source, Greece and Britain have given the go-ahead for Lute to hold contacts with the two Cypriot leaders and the three guarantor powers.

But Ankara is not willing to make such a move before the June 24 elections in Turkey.

Time is of the essence as the UN prepares the Secretary-General’s report on UNFICYP, the peacekeeping force in Cyprus, with a June 15 deadline.

CNA also says that Ankara also seems to run into obstacles in its effort to drill an offshore well in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“They have the drill ship, they have the people, however, they can’t find companies to cooperate” with them, a source said.

Cyprus is looking to tap natural resources discovered within the Republic’s Exclusive Economic Zone, while several international companies are involved in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities.

Ankara disputes the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in its exclusive economic zone and even blocked drilling activity in February.

Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said recently that Ankara will proceed with its first drilling in the Mediterranean this summer.

Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat of New Jersey, has spoken about a new policy for the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean by distancing themselves from Turkey, while granting Cyprus and Greece a more prominent role.

Speaking during a fundraising event, the Senator also expressed the view that the State Department and US Congress are at the brink of differentiating their views over Turkey, due to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s actions.

The Senator said he told the State Department that Turkey can’t keep sending its military ships to harass oil companies.

According to Menendez, what’s happening with Turkey in the Aegean and in Cyprus is "unprecedented."

"I hope that we will now be able to push more intensely for those matters and succeed in changing the traditional views about Turkey in the State Department, as well as among members of the Congress, he added, pointing that Turkey is moving to the opposite direction," said Menendez.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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