Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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16 August 2007
EU, US affirms Republic's sole right to explore coastal shores
Both the European Union and the United States of America have affirmed the legality of the actions of the Republic of Cyprus regarding oil exploration off its coast and its a further blow to Turkey's attempts to share in the possible wind-fall that may accrue to the Republic."

London--Both the European Union and the United States of America have affirmed the legality of the actions of the Republic of Cyprus regarding oil exploration off its coast, reports Theo Theodorou, spokesman for Lobby for Cyprus, "and its a further blow to Turkey's attempts to share in the possible wind-fall that may accrue to the Republic."

Both statements of support cite the Republic's sovereignty and its rights to conduct investigations in the context of international law and agreements regarding tenders for the extraction of hydrocarbons.

It is interesting to note, Theodorou commented, that Turkey has not even signed the "Law of the Sea" under which any claims be accepted.

According to Cypriot Government spokesman Vassilis Palmas, interested parties should have submitted their tenders for the right to explore and exploit oil reserves, by August 16. “Anybody who submitted a bid by August 16 will have the right to extract oil. In the second half of 2008 the second phase would begin, which provides for three-dimensional search, with more precise studies,� he explained.

The American support for the Republic's rights were announced by US Ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher, after an August 8 meeting with Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Antonis Michaelides, that "the Republic of Cyprus' actions regarding the first phase of issuing licenses for exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons from the country's exclusive economic zone, was totally legal."

The EU position was announced on August 14 by the EU Commission spokesman, Pietro Petrucci, who also cited the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus for the international agreements it concludes and that its right to sign these agreements could not be questioned. Stressing that Brussels was following the unfolding events very closely, Petrucci said they have been calling on both sides for moderation and restraint. The only thing the commission could say about the agreement is that it should be in line with EU legislation.

The winner will be awarded a three-year license which could be extended for up to two years, reaching a total of five, but this would reduce the sea area to be licensed for exploration.

If the explorations do confirm that there are oil and gas reserves off the Cyprus coast, Theodorou stated, the pressure will grow for Turkey to leave the illegally-occupied north so that all the citizens of Cyprus may benefit, not only the citizens of the Republic.

Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political organisation dedicated to the reunification of the island through the removal of the 40,000 Turkish Army, the repatriation of the 160,000 Anatolian colonists imported into the north to change its demographics, and the return of all refugees to their homes.