NEWS

Gov’t backs Nicosia’s oil plans

The government yesterday dismissed last week’s strong criticism by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat of Nicosia’s plans to launch oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean as «beyond the realms of logic.» Talat reacted sternly on Friday to news that the Cypriot government plans to open tenders for offshore licensing agreements next month, saying such a move could revive tensions on the divided island. «We are partners in everything that goes on in Cyprus and will not allow our interests to be harmed,» Talat said. Talat also stressed his dismay at Cypriot agreements with Egypt and Lebanon, delineating sea boundaries. «If Lebanon and Egypt decide to put into force these secret agreements, they must know this will raise tensions,» Talat said. «These are destabilizing comments and therefore we regard them as unacceptable,» Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday. Nicosia does not need approval from any third party, especially as its decisions respect international law, Roussopoulos added.