Negotiations on an equal footing?
About the joint exploitation of the gas reserves in Cyprus
Intro by Ralph Kratzer
On 2nd September 2014, the so-called peace talks between North Cyprus and South Cyprus are to be resumed. The last talks between both presidents Eroglu and Anastasiades before the summer break, ended more than unsatisfactorily.
Again a main discussion point surely will be the exploitation of natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea around Cyprus.
To date, there are split opinions on both sides: Some say the gas discovery would promote the reunification of Cyprus, others say they would more burden the negotiations. And while North Cyprus and Turkey are of the opinion, the gas reserves belong to both parts of the separated island, there are a lot of opinion makers and politicians in South Cyprus, who claim the exploitation rights exclusively for the Greek Cypriots.
We have written several articles in the past about this important topic. You will find them easily by typing “natural gas” into the search box of this website.
I recently found the following article in the Greek Cypriot newspaper “Cyprus Mail” that again shows what the government of South Cyprus is thinking about the joint exploitation of the gas reserves.
Barbaros visit denounced as a provocation
By Staff Reporter
The [Greek Cypriot] government said yesterday it would denounce Turkey to the UN and the EU over the actions of its research vessel Barbaros, which was heading for the waters off the north coast ahead of the visit to the breakaway state by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday next.
[Greek Cypriot] Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said that while the Greek Cypriot side was looking for ways to move the stalled Cyprus negotiations forward and to overcome the current difficulties, “the last thing that anyone would expect from Turkey is the repetition of the provocations by the ship Barbaros in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus”.
“If Turkey was sincere in its pronouncements that it has the political will to help the negotiations toward a solution, it would have avoided actions that jeopardise these negotiations,” he said. “These actions violate international law and, among other things, are contrary to Turkey’s obligations in the framework of its EU accession negotiations.
“The Republic of Cyprus will denounce these provocative and illegal actions by Turkey to the United Nations, the European Union and anywhere deemed necessary.”
Erdogan is due in the north on Monday, three days after his inauguration as president. According to Turkish Cypriot reports, Erdogan spoke over the weekend with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the situation in the Middle East, and about Cyprus.
Ban, who brought up the issue of Cyprus during the conversation, highlighted Erdogan’s role in reaching a comprehensive solution in Cyprus, according to the reports.
He told the President-elect that his “personal engagement and support in reaching a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus was vital.”
But the dispatching of the Barbaros ahead of the mission is not seen as a good omen.
According to the navigation plan submitted to NAVTEX, the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa will be carrying out surveys from August 24 until October 2 off the Karpas peninsula. It has not yet arrived in the area and the official plans do not include an incursion into the Republic’s EEZ.
The Barbaros is expected to be accompanied by two other vessels, the Bravo and the M/V Deep. A deal signed between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side in 2011 provides for the exploration on behalf of the Turkish state oil company, for hydrocarbons off the north coast.
Source: Cyprus Mail