Τurkey may not respect Cyprus EEZ but US does - Hochstein
The US State Department`s Special Envoy and Coordinator for international energy affairs, Amos Hochstein, has said that while Turkey “may not respect Cyprus’ EEZ, the US does.”
Hochstein added that without a “resolution in Cyprus no pipelines can go through its EEZ from Israel to Turkey.”
Hochstein, who was addressing the 32nd Congress of the International Coordinating Committee`s ‘Justice for Cyprus’ (PSEKA) on Wednesday, also called energy a “game changer and an incentive for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.”
In 2011 Noble Energy was exploring the Aphrodite gas field when Turkish F-16 jets flew over, while naval activity from Turkey was also visible. “But they stopped and since then there was no interference in Cyprus’ ability to explore its offshore,” pointed out Hochstein.
“The Barbaros [Turkish Navy military frigate] was there, but it never got in the way of any of the international company vessels that were doing business.
“[Turkey] made their statements, but we made it clear, from the moment that [then-] Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton said in 2011 that the US supports Cyprus’ right to explore its offshore,” recalled Hochstein
“I think what is better than a warship is the diplomatic means being able to make sure that the bottom line is more important,” he noted.
“There cannot be pipelines going to Turkey from any country, for the simple reason that they go through the EEZ of Cyprus,” outlined the US official.
“The condition for being able to get Israeli gas to Turkey is conditioned on a resolution in Cyprus, because it cannot go through the EEZ of Cyprus.”
Hochstein is set to have a meeting with Cypriot Government Spokesperson Nikos Christodoulides, who is also in Washington, later on Thursday.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and illegally occupied its northern third. UN-led talks have been underway since May 2015 aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof.