The Foreign Office has sought to clarify its position regarding the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) following the reaction by Nicosia and by UK Cypriots to the Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan’s remark about “sovereignty under dispute”, when asked in the Commons about Turkey’s decision to illegally drill in the area for hydrocarbons.
In reply to a request on behalf of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK by Mike Freer MP for clarification on Sir Alan’s statement, the Foreign Office initially repeated the same statement: “The position of the UK is that, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute.”
Then it repeated the previously stated UK position on the Cypriot EEZ: “We recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone. We believe Cyprus’ oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots, as the Foreign Office has said before.”
The statement has been described as not clear enough by members of the organised Cypriot diaspora in the UK. The Cyprus News Agency understands that the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK will ask the Foreign Office for more clarity.