Feb 11 2019

Egyptian parliamentary speaker vows to hit back at Cyprus energy “obstruction”

The speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives, Ali Abdelaal, has promised close cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus and Greece that he said will serve as an answer countries seeking to obstruct the exploitation of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Monday.

Abdelaal was at a trilateral meeting with his counterparts, Demetris Syllouris of the Cypriot parliament and Nikos Voutsis of Greece, in the Cypriot capital city of Nicosia.

Syllouris said Turkey had violated international laws through “threats and provocations” in the dispute over energy exploitation rights around the island.

While the Greek Cypriot administration’s claim to an exclusive economic zone around the island is recognised by Egypt, Israel and Lebanon, with which it has signed agreements, Turkey says part of the areas claimed by the Greek Cypriots lies on its continental shelf and supports the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’s claim to a share of the resources around the island.

The internationally recognised government of Cyprus, which controls the southern part of the island, says Turkish Cypriots will receive their share of resources once the island is reunified.

Turkey has acquired seismic and drill survey ships in recent years, and is sending two drilling vessels to explore for energy resources in a disputed area west of Cyprus this year.

Greece and the Republic of Cyprus have declared the Turks’ search as illegal, while Turkish officials have likewise warned they will not allow any “fait accompli” from the Greek side in the hunt for energy resources.