15 February, 2007
British High Commissioner in Nicosia Peter Millet expressed here Wednesday hope that Turkey will not do anything that will create tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. Millet was invited to comment on a decision by the National and Natural Gas Company of Turkey (TPAO) to conduct oil exploration in the Mediterranean, south of Antalya and west of Cyprus.
Millet stressed that his country recognizes the sovereignty of the Cyprus Republic and its right to conclude international and bilateral agreements and said that this right is not questioned, adding that he agrees that "silence is golden as far as black gold is concerned as well."
On the question of Cyprus, the British diplomat emphasised the importance of the implementation the soonest possible of the 8th July 2006 agreement, reached between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Ali Talat to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.
He noted that UN Special Representative to Cyprus Michael Moller has been making many efforts towards the implementation of this agreement for a year now.
"The 8 July agreement must be implemented the soonest possible and the technical committees and working groups to begin their work," Millet said.
As regards the oil issue, Millet recalled that Britain was the first country to express its position on the issue.
"We stated that we recognize the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus as well as its right to conclude international and bilateral agreements. This right is not in question," he added.
Invited to comment the announcement on the part of Turkey that it will begin exploration at sea west of Cyprus, Millet noted that Turkey does not implement the Law of the Sea and thus has a different position on the issue.
"However all other European countries recognize this Law and Cyprus' right for example, under this Treaty, to conduct exploration at sea and in its exclusive economic zone," he added.
"We hope that Turkey will not do anything that will create tension in the area," he concluded.
Source: Athens News Agency