The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Miro Cerar, will pay a working visit to Cyprus on October 17 and 18 during which he will hold talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, and will attend a Cyprus - Slovenia business forum.
CNA has learned that during their talks, on Thursday, the two Foreign Ministers will discuss about developments in the Cyprus problem, Turkish provocative activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in light of the decision of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers on targeted measures against the Turkish illegal drilling, expected to be endorsed later this week by the European Council, EU matters, including Brexit, and the bilateral relations between Cyprus and Slovenia. After their talks the two Ministers will make statements to the press.
On Friday, Cerar will hold a meeting with the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris and will attend the Cyprus – Slovenia business forum organized by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with Slovenia.
The Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Slovenia will address the opening of the seminar.
The EU28 Foreign Affairs Ministers agreed on Monday in Luxembourg that "a framework regime of restrictive measures targeting natural and legal persons responsible for or involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean is put in place” and invited the EU High Representative and the Commission to swiftly present proposals to this effect.
More specifically, according to the text adopted by the Council: "In light of Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, the Council reaffirms its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law."
The Council "recalls its conclusions of 15 July 2019 in all its parts, and notably that delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of international law and in accordance with the principle of good neighbourly relations."
Furthermore, the Council, "based on preparatory work already undertaken, agrees that a framework regime of restrictive measures targeting natural and legal persons responsible for or involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean is put in place, and invites the High Representative and the Commission to swiftly present proposals to this effect."
According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship "Yavuz", which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7 has been licensed by the government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.
"Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.
Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.
Cyprus has called on drill ship “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.
A navigational telex (navtex), published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on "Yavuz" and its supporting vessels that they will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.
EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the EEZ of Cyprus, deciding, among others, to suspend negotiations with Ankara on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and postpone the Association Council and other EU-Turkey meetings. Moreover, the Council reduced the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in the country.
In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.