US Supports Cyprus, Wants Closer East Med Gas Cooperation

LARNACA, Cyprus—The United States wants tighter cooperation on developing gas finds in the “strategically significant” eastern Mediterranean and supports Cyprus right to exploit hydrocarbon deposits discovered in its waters, a senior U.S. State Department official said Sunday.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said hydrocarbon development would aim to “provide durable energy security and economic prosperity throughout the Mediterranean,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus.

The statement was issued after Hale met with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to discuss the eastern Mediterraneans “growing strategic significance” as well as recent developments in the region, including the devastating Aug. 4 blast in Lebanons capital of Beirut.

Hales brief visit to the island nation came amid growing military tensions over Turkeys gas prospecting in waters where European Union members Greece and Cyprus say they have exclusive economic rights.

Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, left, and USA David Hale touch elbows
Cyprus foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides (L), and Under Secretary of the United States of America, for Political Affairs, David Hale touch elbows following their meeting at Larnaca international airport, Cyprus, on Aug. 16, 2020. (Christos Avraamides/Press and Information Office of Cyprus via AP Photo)

On Friday, EU foreign ministers expressed “full solidarity” with Greece and Cyprus and urged an “immediate de-escalation” by Turkey as Greek and Turkish navy ships shadowed each other.

Turkey had earlier dispatched a pair of warship-escorted research vessels to explore the southeastern sides of both Crete and Cyprus. But on Sunday, Turkey appeared to be upping the ante by announcing that another drill ship, the Yavuz, would be conducting a month-long hydrocarbons search off Cyprus southwestern coast.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned the move which he said further fueled tensions and undermined efforts to resume talks. He called on Turkey to “end these activities immediately and to engage fully in good faith” in talks with the EU.

Turkey, which doesnt recognize ethnically divided Cyprus as a state, claims 44 percent of the islands economic zone as its own and insists it has every right to carry out such explorations in defense of its interests and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots.

The U.S. Embassy statement sRead More From Source

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The Epoch Times

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