Barbaros enters Cyprus' EEZ, EU says de-escalation needed in the region (Update 1)

Turkey’s navigational telex (Navtex) for exploration east of Cyprus is a negative development, EU Commission and EU External Action Service spokesman Peter Stano said on Thursday, as Ankara’s research vessel ‘Barbaros’ began explorations in Cyprus’ EEZ.

Stano said de-escalation in the region was necessary to find a solution that would benefit the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot community.

According to CNA, the Navtex issued by Turkey for an area southeast of Cape Greco includes parts of blocks 2, 3 and 13 of Cyprus’ EEZ.  The Barbaros is accompanied by a Turkish warship and a second support ship, the agency said.

Stano said at the July EU Foreign Ministers Council meeting they decided the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell would examine ways they could contribute to the reduction of tensions.

“Last week, the High Representative had a phone conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusolgu, where they agreed on the need to reduce tensions,” he said.

Commenting on the situation in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said: “It is unacceptable. It is a clear extension of its illegal activities.”

He added Greece would continue to support Cyprus in the country’s attempts to solve the Cyprus issue and in its attempts to deal with the Turkish violations, following a phone call between President and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Athens’ Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias described the presence of the Barbaros as a “blatant violation” of a European Union member-state’s sovereign rights.

Speaking to ANT1 television, Dendias, also said that he had spoken with Foreign Minister, Nicos Christodoulides, and clarified that Greece would support the Republic of Cyprus at any level it wishes.

Earlier, the US State Department urged Turkey yet again to immediately terminate its operations within the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus.

Prior to news that the Turkish vessel had entered Cyprus’ EEZ, a State Department spokesperson described the Turkish action as provocative, noting that it escalates tensions in the region.

It said the US was concerned about Turkey’s intentions in exploring for hydrocarbons within Cyprus’ sea area, noting that these provocative actions increase tension.

“We urge the Turkish authorities to terminate these operations,” the spokesperson said.

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