EU’s Borrell says Turkish gas drills off Cyprus ‘must stop’

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Thursday (25 June) that “illegal” Turkish drilling for gas off the divided island of Cyprus “must stop”, as he met Cypriot officials in Nicosia.

“Turkish illegal drillings must stop,” Borrell tweeted after meeting the Republic of Cyprus’ foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides.

The EU’s top diplomat – who is on a two-day visit to Nicosia – said he had discussed with Christodoulides how to “bolster regional stability” and de-escalate tensions.

“Delimitation of exclusive economic zones contested by Turkey must be done in full respect of international law and good faith, as proposed by Cyprus,” he added.

The Mediterranean island has been divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and a northern third under Turkish control since 1974, after Ankara’s troops occupied the area in response to a coup sponsored by a Greek military junta.

Last year, ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum made the biggest gas find off Cyprus so far, discovering a field holding an estimated five to eight trillion cubic feet.

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