Washington endorses Greek Cypriot gas search - Kathimerini

The United States supports the Greek Cypriot administration’s use of resources around the islands, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt told reporters during a summit in the northern Greek city of Thessoloniki.

“The US has been very clear, Washington has spoken repeatedly and consistently in terms of our support for the right of Cyprus to exploit its continental shelf and its resources,” Pyatt told Greek newspaper Kathimerini’s English edition editor during the summit.

The Greek Cypriot administration has been exploring waters in the exclusive economic zone it claims around the island, which are believed to hold huge gas reserves.

However, Ankara has challenged the Greek Cypriot claim to parts of this EEZ, which it says lie on Turkey’s continental shelf.

Tensions have been high in the Eastern Mediterranean this year as both sides continue to send research vessels to conduct gas exploration.

Turkey also objects to the Greek Cypriot exploitation of the island’s resources on the grounds that this infringes on Turkish Cypriots’ rights.

Since a Greek nationalist coup triggered an invasion by Turkey in 1974, the island has been split between a Turkish Cypriot administration in the northern part of the island and a Greek Cypriot administration governing the rest.

Despite the disagreements with Nicosia and Athens, Pyatt was effusive in his praise for Greece’s influence on Turkey.

“We probably have no stronger ally in NATO in terms of sharing our perspective on both the the importance of dialogue with Ankara but also the importance of ensuring that Turkey remains anchored in the West,” he said.