NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday referred to as for a diplomatic resolution to the confrontation between Greece and Turkey over power reserves in east Mediterranean waters, saying ongoing navy tensions between two NATO allies solely serve the alliance’s foes.
“Elevated navy tensions assist nobody however adversaries who want to see division in transatlantic unity,” Pompeo stated after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
Pompeo stated President Donald Trump has already spoken together with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in hopes of ending the standoff.
Greek and Turkish warships have been staring one another down in latest weeks as Turkish analysis vessels and drill ships proceed trying to find hydrocarbons in waters the place Greece and Cyprus declare unique financial rights.
Up to now, three sizable gasoline discoveries have been made inside Cyprus’ unique financial zone the place power corporations together with Whole of France, Italy’s Eni and ExxonMobil are licensed to hold out hydrocarbons searches.
EU members Greece and Cyprus have accused Turkey of violating worldwide regulation and have been attempting to rally fellow bloc members to impose more durable sanctions towards Turkey.
Turkey, which does not acknowledge Cyprus as a state, insists it has each proper to prospect in these waters and is doing so to defend its rights and people of breakaway Turkish Cypriots on ethnically divided Cyprus to a possible mineral bounty.
“We stay deeply involved by Turkey’s ongoing operations, surveying for pure sources in areas the place Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction within the japanese Mediterranean,” stated Pompeo, repeating Washington’s help for Cyprus’ proper to use hydrocarbon deposits in its territorial sea and unique financial zone.
Cyprus has been divided right into a Greek-Cypriot south and a Turkish-occupied north since a 1974 invasion by Turkey in response to a coup in search of to unite the island with Greece. A breakaway state within the north is acknowledged solely by Turkey.
The U.S. high diplomatic additionally repeated that any potential hydrocarbon wealth must be shared equitably between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
Anastasiades stated he absolutely supported Washington’s place that regional disputes must be resolved via dialogue “and never by gunboat diplomacy.” The Cypriot president repeated his authorities’s provide to both negotiate with Turkey immediately on marking maritime borders or taking the problem to the Worldwide Courtroom of Justice.
Pompeo’s lightning go to to Cyprus additionally aimed to affirm Washington’s lively engagement in tumultuous area simply 4 days after Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov pitched Moscow’s provide to assist ease tensions throughout his journey to the island nation.
Paying homage to a Chilly Battle-era rivalry, the visits by Pompeo and Lavrov to Cyprus underscored a renewed curiosity in a area the place Moscow’s footprint has grown bigger attributable to its navy involvement in neighboring Syria.
“Safety cooperation issues all of the extra as we see nations that don’t share our values attempting to acquire footholds within the area,” stated Pompeo.
Cyprus has tried to leverage its geographic proximity to the Center East by striving to bolster relations with the U.S. whereas on the identical time sustaining sturdy ties with Moscow on whose help it counts on within the United Nations.
Pompeo stated U.S.-Cyprus relations “have by no means been higher,” however repeated to Anastasiades Washington’s issues over Russian cash laundering actions in Cyprus in addition to ports of name Russian warships make at Cypriot ports.
The centerpiece of nearer Cyprus-US hyperlinks was final yr’s congressional approval of the Jap Mediterranean Vitality and Safety Partnership Act that underscores U.S. help for an energy-based partnership between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
Beneath the Act, the U.S. is offering Cyprus with funding for navy coaching and has partially lifted an arms embargo that was enacted 33 years in the past to stop a attainable arms race harming peace talks. The lifting of the embargo was made attainable after Washington waived a requirement that Cyprus stop to supply refueling and different port providers to Russian warships.
“We all know that every one the Russian navy vessels that cease in Cypriot ports usually are not conducting humanitarian missions in Syria,” Pompeo stated.
The transfer — in addition to U.S. officers accusing Russia of taking part in a “very destabilizing position within the area” — angered Moscow, with Lavrov accusing Washington of utilizing “divide and rule” ways to drive a wedge between Russia and nations within the area.