Matthew Palmer, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, has warned against Turkey’s plans for offshore drilling operations within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, while reiterating Washington’s support of the Mediterranean island’s right to exploit and develop its oil and gas resources.
“The US strongly supports the right of Cyprus to exploit and develop its hydrocarbon resources and we believe that the proceeds from those resources should be shared equitably amongst all the people on the island within the framework of a negotiated settlement,” Palmer said in an interview with Cyprus New Agency after completing a round of meetings in Nicosia.
Asked about how Washington will react if Turkey insists to its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Palmer said Ankara had been repeatedly advised to change course.
“We’ve made clear to Turkey that we consider the actions that Turkey has undertaken in terms of its announced intentions to begin drilling as provocative and we have encouraged Turkey to stop those actions,” Palmer said.
“We have done that privately, we’ve done it publicly,” he said.
Palmer added that the US remained committed to the reunification of the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
“We remain strongly supportive of the UN-led process of negotiations. We would like to see the island reunified. We would like to see that happen as quickly as possible,” he said.