Cyprus rules out peace talks after Turkey blockade

1 March 2018
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Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades has said Turkey’s “illegal” actions were impeding reunification talks for the island.

Anastasiades said fresh negotiations were unlikely any time soon because Turkey is blocking the search for offshore gas and Turkish Cypriots were making unacceptable demands.

“Unfortunately Turkey, and our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, appear to be not only unwilling (to re-engage in talks), but with additional violations of international law and unacceptable demands render the resumption of talks impossible, at least at the present time,” Anastasiades told the country’s parliament on Wednesday.

Demands by Turkish Cyprus for sovereignty over the gas areas serve Turkey’s interests, not their own, he said.

Turkish warships prevented a drillship from reaching an area of the Mediterranean southeast of Cyprus earlier in February. Italian company Eni was scheduled to drill there.

Anastasiades said last week that Cyprus would press on with its search for gas despite Turkish opposition.

The Cypriot president has raised the issue with the European Union and the U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, Kathleen Doherty.

The government has aid any wealth generated by new gas finds would be shared equitably with all Cypriot citizens after the island is reunified, with proceeds from sales to be deposited in a sovereign wealth fund.

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