US urges Turkey to stop drilling off the coast of Cyprus



The US Ambassador to Cyprus, Judith Garber, has raised concerns over Turkey’s continued drilling off the coast of Cyprus, and urged Turkey to halt the operations exploring energy reserves in the surrounding waters.

Garber made the remarks at the Independence Day reception held at the US Embassy in Nicosia, in the presence of the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades. She reiterated her support for Cyprus and reassured them that the US recognises its right to develop and exploit resources within its “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ).

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer also spoke to Cyprus News Agency about the matter, stating,“The US strongly supports the right of Cyprus to exploit and develop its hydrocarbon resources and we believe that the proceeds from those resources should be shared equitably amongst all the people on the island within the framework of a negotiated settlement.”

“We’ve made it clear to Turkey that we consider the actions that they have undertaken in terms of its announced intentions to begin drilling as provocative and we have encouraged Turkey to stop those actions,” Palmer said. “We have done that privately and we’ve done it publicly,” Palmer added.

The US, he said, does not want a base in Cyprus, like France. "We see the region as an area of increasing importance for energy. We believe that the region's energy resources can offer a variety of energy imports, energy security in Europe. In addition, we are also interested in other issues in the region, such as the fight against terrorism, drugs, trafficking in human beings and immigration." Palmer concluded that the solution to the Cyprus issue is still a priority for the US but the ultimate decision to discuss a new model belongs to the two leaders.