The governments of Egypt, Greece and Greek Cyprus have urged Turkey to stop trying to chart gas deposits in areas of the east Mediterranean claimed by Greek Cyprus, saying the work was illegal.
Greek Cyprus, a European Union member, is anxious to develop the gas reserves in its so-called exclusive economic zone (EEZ), an offshore region lying south of the island.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Greece and Greek Cyprus met in Nicosia yesterday to prepare for a summit between the three nations next month, and condemned Turkey’s actions.
“The ministers deplored the recent illegal actions perpetrated within [Greek] Cyprus’s EEZ, as well as the unauthorized seismic operations being conducted therein,” they said in a statement.
Greek Cyprus discovered an estimated 5 trillion cubic feet of gas in one offshore field in late 2011 and has licensed U.S. energy firm Noble, Italy’s ENI and France’s Total to search for gas.
“We are hopeful all activity in the eastern Mediterranean will conform with international regulations ... understandings which are based on good neighborly relations,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri told reporters, flanked by his Cypriot and Greek counterparts.
Egypt has penned a deal with the Nicosia government recognizing sea boundaries between the two countries.