Is­rael says it backs Cyprus gas ex­plo­ration

Kathimerini English - - C O M M E N Tary -

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Is­rael said yes­ter­day it sup­ported at­tempts by neigh­bor­ing Cyprus to carry out nat­u­ral gas ex­plo­ration off­shore, in spite of ob­jec­tions from Turkey chal­leng­ing the en­deavor. Cyprus, a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union, has dis­cov­ered siz­able gas de­posits south of the is­land to­ward Is­rael, which has made mas­sive hy­dro­car­bon finds in the past decade. Nicosia has ac­cused Ankara, which does not rec­og­nize Cyprus, of dis­patch­ing a re­search ves­sel to col­lect seis­mic data, a pre­cur­sor for pos­si­ble ex­plo­rations. “We re­spect the in­tegrity of Cyprus. You have your ex­clu­sive rights to ex­plore in your eco­nomic zone for gas or oil re­serves and we think it’s un­nec­es­sary to add other ten­sions to the prob­lems of the Mid­dle East,” Is­raeli For­eign Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man told re­porters in Nicosia. “I hope that the EU has enough power to be a real me­di­a­tor and to take a rea­son­able po­si­tion re­gard­ing the gas dis­pute and ex­plo­ration in [Cyprus’s] eco­nomic zone,” he said.

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