US State Department backs Cyprus’s right to drill in EEZ

US State Department backs Cyprus’s right to drill in EEZ

Hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged all parties engaging in gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean not to pressure it over Ankara’s own energy plans in the region, the US State Department said Washington “discourages any actions or rhetoric that increase tensions in the region.”

“The US policy on Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone is longstanding and has not changed: the United States recognizes the right of the Republic of Cyprus to develop its resources in its EEZ,” a spokesperson said in response to a question by the Hellas Journal website.

In what was seen as a warning aimed at Greece, Cyprus and the US, Erdogan was quoted as saying on Tuesday, “we tell our friends: Don’t push us, don’t press us.”

Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s intention to keep exploring for gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea in the same “decisive manner,” and referred to “conflicting interests” in the region due to the cooperation between Cyprus and US energy giant ExxonMobil.

He said Turkey is deploying two research vessels and two drillships – divided between the East Med and the Black Sea – and that Ankara has taken “all the necessary measures for their safety.”

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