Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades continues his sincere effort for the resumption of a targeted and creative dialogue that will lead to a viable settlement, which will provide that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriot will get rid of the guarantees and troops of third countries and will secure a common future for the next generations, despite the toxic climate which Turkey is trying to create, Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Minister of Cyprus Costas Kadis said on Saturday.
Kadis, who was speaking during the funeral of Greek Cypriot Stavros Stavrou who went missing during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and whose remains were discovered by CMP and identified through the DNA method, noted that the illegal activities of Turkey in the Republic of Cyprus’ EEZ, the threats for the settling of the fenced-off city of Famagusta and the signing of the illegal MoU between Turkey and Libya have been explicitly condemned by the international community and the EU, since they don’t abide by the good neighborhood concept, they violate the international law and in no way contribute to the creation of a favorable climate.
Unfortunately, while the efforts for the resumption of the negotiating process are underway, the recent actions of Turkey violate the international legality and seriously undermines the creation of a climate that will be conducive for the negotiations, the Minister said.
Referring to the issue of missing persons, Kadis said that the government will continue to pursue in every way the establishment of their fate, noting that this is “the first issue which our side raises before the Turkish Cypriot leadership and to the representatives of organizations and governments during meetings taking place at all levels.”
Turkey has dispatched drillship Yavuz to conduct a drilling operation off the south of the island of Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks for a Cyprus settlement have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
The Cyprus government has condemned Turkey’s newly planned illegal drilling within the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, noting that Turkey, provocatively ignoring the repeated calls by the international community and the European Union, to terminate its illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ, is now attempting to carry out a “new illegal drilling in the southern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, inside exploration block 8, which was duly licensed to the European companies ENI and TOTAL“.
“This new attempted drilling constitutes yet another flagrant violation of the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as the relevant customary International Law, and completely disregards the international EEZ delimitation agreements already in force between Cyprus and Israel, and Cyprus and Egypt, respectively,” a statement issued by the Presidency of Cyprus has said.
Since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown. A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.