UK says it asked Turkey not to drill ‘where sovereignty is under dispute’

The UK Foreign Office said on Thursday it had called Turkey not to drill in the area off Paphos where it has positioned its drillship Fatih because the area “where sovereignty is under dispute”.

In a brief statement, the Foreign Office said the UK was following developments in the Eastern Mediterranean with concern.

“We would like to see the situation deescalated,” the statement said.

“With reference to Turkey’s planned drilling, as the Minister for Europe and the Americas stated on 14 May, 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. We have called on Turkey not to drill in this area,” the statement added.

It also said the UN continued to “recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone [and note that Cyprus has reached agreements with countries to its south and east over the limits of its Exclusive Economic Zone.]

The UK continues to believe that Cyprus’ oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots, the statement concluded.