Gas drilling off Cyprus commences as planned
The West Capella drilling ship arrived off the coast of Cyprus yesterday as a French-Italian consortium was preparing to start operations in block 11, without any reports of harassment from Turkish warships conducting exercises with live ammunition within the island’s economic exclusive zone (EEZ).
West Capella’s course to block 11 was briefly monitored by the Turkish Gokceada frigate, while two French warships arrived at the port of Larnaca in what was seen by analysts as a message that France wants to safeguard its interest. Ankara opposes Cyprus’s right to drill for gas, saying its natural resources must be shared with the Turkish-occupied north, warning the Greek Cypriots to refrain from “unilateral actions.”
The US State Department said yesterday that resources must be shared fairly by the island’s two communities and reaffirmed Washington’s position that Cyprus has a right to exploit its natural resources.
Meanwhile, the Greek Foreign Ministry accused Turkey yesterday of “audacity” and of “fooling” the international community, in response to an earlier statement by Ankara blaming Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias for last week’s collapse of the Cyprus talks.