US supports Cyprus as tensions with Turkey heighten over gas drilling



The U.S. supports energy-based partnerships in the eastern Mediterranean that bolster political cooperation and prosperity and is urging against “provocative actions" that undermine stability, a government official said Wednesday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Francis Fannon said his government supports Cyprus' right to develop its energy resources and for proceeds to be divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots as part of a deal reunifying the ethnically divided island nation.

“Cyprus has an incredibly important role to play in this new energy corridor that is still developing throughout the region,” said Fannon.

“We urge all parties to not take any provocative actions that could create any further instability. And we’re steadfast on that,” he added.

He made the comments before a gathering of Israeli, Greek and Cypriot technical experts gathered in Nicosia to discuss ways to boost safety and security in offshore gas drilling.

Fannon’s visit coincides with Turkey upping the ante by pushing ahead with drilling activity in Cyprus’s designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) despite EU threats of sanctions against Ankara.

The US official said energy resources were a “catalyst for cooperation” and that the United States remained committed at the highest level. “We support the Republic of Cyprus to develop its resources in its EEZ,” said Fannon.

The remarks come amid tensions over Turkey's more aggressive push to search for natural gas search in waters were Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.



*Main source: AP