Cyprus has the right to use the resources within its EEZ, State Department official says

Cyprus has the right to use the resources within its EEZ, State Department official says
The State Department has sent a clear message to Ankara that it discourages any rhetoric or actions that increases tensions, with regard to the drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, while reiterating their standing position on the issue of drilling in the Cypriot EEZ.

The State Department supports the right of Cyprus to use the resources within its Exclusive Economic Zone, a US Department of State official said on Wednesday (7 March). The official did not comment directly on Turkish threats regarding the arrival of a research vessel belonging to US company ExxonMobil in the region.

In a statement, the official said “the US policy on Cyprus’ EEZ is longstanding and has not changed: the United States recognises the right of the Republic of Cyprus to develop its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

“We continue to believe the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement. We discourage any actions or rhetoric that increase tensions in the region,” the State Department official added.

Suann Guthrie, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, said the planning of the company is proceeding as scheduled, with the highest priority being given to the safety of crews and ships that will conduct searches in the area.

"Our planning is about conducting two exploration drills starting in the first half of 2018". Part of the preparation is the acquisition of permits and the collection of environmental data using research vessels. We expect these surveys to be completed within the next two months", Guthrie told CNA.

The Cyprus government and the consortium of companies ExxonMobil Corporation and Qatar Petroleum have signed an exploration and production sharing contract for Block 10./IBNA

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