07 February, 2007
Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas said on Tuesday that the Republic of Cyprus is bound only by the international convention for the Law of the Sea.
Lillikas was commenting on a statement by State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, during Monday's briefing, that the issue of petroleum reserves exploitation in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus ''gets very quickly into complicated issues related to the Law of the Sea.''
''There are international conventions for the Law of Sea, which Cyprus has signed along with a total of 146 countries and Turkey has not signed them,'' Lillikas said, replying to questions, adding that Cyprus is bound by the Convention of the Law of the Sea and the mechanisms the Convention provides for.
''We have implemented precisely the Convention, and the agreements we singed are in full harmony with the international Convention,'' he added.
According to Lillikas, each country has the right to perform studies on international or other issues regarding other countries. He added however that this ''does not mean that the studies lead to or create obligations or commitments of the country concerned.''
Replying to a question whether the companies that expressed interest in the possible oil reserves in Cyprus' territorial waters have withdrawn their interest after Turkish protests, Lillikas said that he was not aware of such information.
''What I am aware of is that there is great interest on behalf of petroleum companies,'' he added.
Invited to comment on McCormack's written statement that the State Department has no recommendations as to whether American companies
should participate in the bidding process, Lillikas said that the US is a democratic country with a free market economy, in which ''the governments do not decide on behalf of the companies.''
Cyprus has already singed agreements for the delimitation of its Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Lebanon and is expected to proclaim an international bidding competition on February 15.
Source: Athens News Agency