EU leaders seriously concerned at Greek Cyprus, Turkey tensions: Draft
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
Greek Cyprus earlier this month suspended its participation in UN-led peace talks, citing the dispute with Turkey over development of energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.AFP PhotoEuropean Union leaders will call on Turkey to respect Greek Cyprus's sovereign rights, expressing "serious concern" at fresh tensions between the two countries over oil and gas exploration, a draft summit document showed Oct. 23.
The statement, to be issued at an EU summit in Brussels, comes after Greek Cyprus on Oct. 20 slammed Turkey for sending a survey vessel into an area where the Cypriot government had already licensed exploratory drilling for oil and gas.
"The European Council expresssed serious concern about the renewed tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. It called on Turkey to respect Cyprus' sovereign rights," said the statement prepared for the 28 EU leaders meeting in Brussels and obtained by AFP.
It added that in the current circumstances, it was "more important than ever to reach a comprehensive Cyprus settlement which would benefit all Cypriots."
Ankara has made clear repeatedly it will not accept Greek Cypriot government development of offshore energy resources until the division of the island is resolved.
Greek Cyprus earlier this month suspended its participation in U.N.-led peace talks, citing the dispute with Turkey over development of energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades would have met Turkish Cypriot counterpart Derviş Eroğlu if the talks had gone ahead.
Anastasiades, 68, arrived in Brussels to attend the EU summit but was briefly hospitalised with high blood pressure early Oct. 23.
Advised to rest, he asked Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to represent him at the meeting, the Cypriot government said.
In response to Ankara's action, Greek Cyprus has also made clear it will block any new talks with Turkey on its EU membership bid.