US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concerns over tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean during his Saturday visit to Cyprus.
“We remain deeply concerned by Turkey’s ongoing operations surveying for natural resources in areas over which Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Republic of Cyprus has the right to exploit its natural resources, including the right to hydrocarbons found in its territorial sea and its economic – exclusive economic zone”, Pompeo said, as quoted by the US State Department.
Pompeo stressed that regional cooperation is essential for energy security in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We also believe that the resources of Cyprus should be shared equitably among the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots communities”, he said.
Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean have been brewing for many months around Turkey’s exploration for gas in waters which Cyprus and Greece claim as their exclusive economic zones. Turkey has been ignoring calls to leave the disputed waters and has conducted military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean in response to drills organized by Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy this summer.
On Friday, Ankara said it was going to conduct artillery exercises from Saturday to Monday. The new drills will be carried out in the Mediterranean Sea northwest of Cyprus.