German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte expressed, during separate telephone conversations they had on Thursday with Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, their full support to the Republic of Cyprus and its sovereign rights with regard to the provocations of Turkey and its illegal actions in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as well as in relation to Turkish threats about the issue of Famagusta, Director of the President`s Press Office, Victoras Papadopoulos, said in a written statement.
According to Papadopoulos, the President exchanged views with the two leaders regarding the forthcoming European Council meeting that will take place on September 24 and they agreed that they will be in close contact, so that the EU effectively contributew to the termination of Turkey`s illegal actions, both in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and in relation to Turkish threats to settle the fenced off city of Famagusta.
Papadopoulos described Anastasiades` phone contacts with Merkel and Conte as important, noting that "both the German Chancellor and the Italian Prime Minister expressed their full support to the Republic of Cyprus and to its sovereign rights with regard to the Turkish provocations and illegal actions in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, but also with regard to the threats about the issue of Famagusta."
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 latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Ankara sent on several occasions its seismic research vessel ‘Barbaros’ to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), following the Republic of Cyprus’ decision, in 2011, to start exploratory offshore drilling. After May 2019, Turkey caused a stir by sending consecutively two drill ships, “Fatih” and “Yavuz”, to conduct unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, at times in areas licensed by Cyprus to international energy companies.
The European Council reaffirmed its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law and in February 2020, placed two persons under restrictive measures, in relation to Turkey`s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus should be extended to include Varosha.