Defence Minister Savvas Angelides briefed his counterparts and other officials on Turkey`s actions in Cyprus EEZ and regional security issues, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, where he participated.
According to an announcement issued by Defence Ministry, Angelides met with several of his counterparts, took part in roundtable discussions and attended a working lunch hosted by the German Minister of Defence.
The Defence Minister briefed his interlocutors on developments in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey’s illegal actions, on the security situation in Cyprus and the role of Cyprus in the region as Europe’s eastern border. Issues of common interest were also discussed, with an emphasis on the need to define a strategy for European cooperation in the fields of defence, security, capacity building and strengthening of the defence industry.
Angelides had also meetings with Senator Robert Menendez and Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris to discuss developments in Cyprus as well as the next steps in upgrading relations and cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus in the field of defence and security.
According to the same announcement, 30 leaders of states or governments, including the Presidents of France and Germany, took part in the Munich Security Conference, which has been held every year since 1963. More than 100 Defence Ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs were also participants at the Conference, along with a large number of international security analysts and experts, representatives of international and regional organizations, as well as non-governmental and other organizations.
Cyprus remains 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.
Since May 2019, Turkey has illegally conducted four drilling operations using the its state-owned vessels Fatih and Yavuz, in Cyprus’ territorial sea and continental shelf/EEZ, to the west, east and south of the island; the most recently completed illegal drilling was located in the eastern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, in close vicinity of its territorial sea, at 12.4 nautical miles from the Karpas peninsula.
Turkey has also commenced a fifth such illegal drilling, planned between 18 January and 14 May 2020, in the southern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, in a maritime area which has been delimited in accordance with international law between Cyprus and the relevant coastal States, namely Israel and Egypt.
This latest illegal drilling also lies within exploration block 8 which was duly licensed by the Republic of Cyprus to the European companies Eni and Total.