MED7 express support and solidarity to the Republic of Cyprus

On Turkey’s illegal actions in its EEZ

Leaders of the southern EU member states, who met in Valletta, on Friday, in the context of a MED7 Summit, expressed both in the Valletta Declaration and their statements their support and solidarity towards the Republic of Cyprus and its sovereign rights within its Exclusive Economic Zone and over the situation with Turkey’s illegal actions in it.

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During his statement, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades thanked his counterparts and said “the goal is for the EU and our partners to make the most of all diplomatic means and influence in order for illegal activities to end immediately.”

In their Declaration the MED7 express their “deep regret that Turkey has not responded to the European Union’s repeated calls condemning Turkey’s illegal continued actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea and express serious concern over actual or potential drilling activities within Cyprus’ EEZ.”

“We ask the European Union to remain seized on the matter and, in case Turkey does not cease its illegal activities, to consider appropriate measures in full solidarity with Cyprus,” they note.

In a statement during a joint press conference by the seven southern EU member states leaders, Malta’s Prime Minister and host Joseph Muscat said that “we have made it very clear that we give our total support to our Cypriot friends on recurrent issues and that this support is unwavering.”

In his statement French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated “once more full support to Cyprus and respect to its sovereignty.”  Turkey, Macron said, “should cease its illegal activities within Cyprus’ EEZ”, adding that the EU will not show any weakness on the matter.

On his part Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that during the summit they all agreed that “this matter is not a bilateral matter between Cyprus and Turkey.”  Matters which come up between Greece and Turkey are possibly also not bilateral, they are matters between Turkey and Europe and they should be dealt with as such, he added.

“I consider the clear message we convey today that eh Eu should examine and take specific measures if Turkey does not stop its illegal activity extremely important,” Tsipras noted.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also conveyed “our support and full help to the Cyprus government.”  “Cyprus is completely entitled to economic measures to protect its resources in its EEZ,” he said speaking through an interpreter.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also noted solidarity and support to the government of Cyprus regarding oil protection as regards Turkey.
 
Porutguese President Antonio Costa expressed unwavering solidarity and support towards Cyprus and its sovereign rights.

In his statement, President Anastasiades thanked the leaders of the summit “for their firm support  on the Republic of Cyprus’ inalienable right to exercise its sovereign rights within its EEZ and in particular on their unanimous expression of dissatisfaction and condemnation of the violation of international law, the law of the sea on the part of Turkey.”

He said he briefed the MED7 on “Turkey’s provocative activities which unfortunately have escalated in recent weeks with unheard of violations of international and European law and the Law of the Sea.”

Behaviours, President Anastasiades added, which are contrary to the principles and values of the EU, particularly if the country which violates them is none other than Turkey a candidate for EU accession.

He also said that he briefed his counterparts on recent developments on the Cyprus problem, thanked them for their long-standing principled position on the effort to reach a viable and functional solution on the basis of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and EU fundamental principles.

Despite all that is going on within the Republic of Cyprus’ EEZ, President Anastasiades said, “I wish to reiterated our determination for the creation of those conditions which will allow us through dialogue to reach a lasting, viable and functional solution.”

The Valletta Declaration

Among other things, the Valletta Declaration expresses full support and solidarity to the Republic of Cyprus, deep regret that Turkey has not responded to the EU’s repeated calls, condemning Turkey’s illegal continued actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean sea and ask the EU to remain seized on the matter and in case Turkey does not cease its illegal activities to consider appropriate measures in full solidarity with Cyprus.

“We reiterate our full support and solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus in exercising its sovereign rights to explore, exploit and develop its natural resources within its EEZ, in line with EU and international law,” it reads.

It continues noting that “in line with previous Council and European Council Conclusions, we recall Turkey’s obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations.”

“We express our deep regret that Turkey has not responded to the European Union’s repeated calls condemning Turkey’s illegal continued actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea and express serious concern over actual or potential drilling activities within Cyprus’ EEZ,” the MED7 state.

“We ask the European Union to remain seized on the matter and, in case Turkey does not cease its illegal activities, to consider appropriate measures in full solidarity with Cyprus,” they note.

“We call on Turkey to fulfil its obligations under the negotiation framework including the full non-discriminatory implementation of the additional protocol to the association agreement towards all Member States,” the Declaration adds.

It also reiterates that that “recognition of all Member States is essential.” In this regard, “we reiterate our call on Turkey to normalise relations with Cyprus,” it reads.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. 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.
 
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