Cyprus: Greece says Turkey violating global law again

Turkish warships stop Italy's ENI rig in waters off Cyprus

"From our side, our actions reflect the necessity of avoiding anything which could escalate (the situation), without of course overlooking the violation of worldwide law perpetrated by Turkey", Anastasiades told journalists in Nicosia.

Cyprus on Sunday said the Turkish military had obstructed a vessel contracted by Italian oil company Eni which was approaching an area to explore for natural gas.

The Greek foreign ministry on Monday said in a statement that "Turkey is continuing to challenge worldwide law by flagrantly violating the sovereign rights of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean", referring to "Turkey's illegal actions in the ZEE of Cyprus".

A spokesman for the Italian foreign ministry confirmed that Turkish authorities were not allowing the ship to proceed towards its destination.

A spokesperson for Italy's state-controlled Eni said the ship, which was travelling after reporting a natural gas discovery in another prospect within Cypriot maritime boundaries on February 8, would remain stationary until the issue was resolved.

In 2011 Cyprus and Turkey began to dispute on account of search plans for hydrocarbonsof the Republic of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone.

ENI said the "Saipem 12000" drillship, which had just completed a successful drilling southwest of Cyprus, is now stationary and will remain in the region close to its target pending further development of the issue. Turkey opposes what it describes as a "unilateral" Cypriot government hydrocarbons search because it disregards the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the ethnically split the island's natural resources.

Cyprus' State television reported that ENI officials would confer with Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, adding that a senior ENI official is expected to arrive in Nicosia on Monday for talks.

Cyprus was divided into a Greek Cypriot south, where the internationally recognized government is seated, and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974, when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece. Peace talks collapsed a year ago.

"From our side, actions are in line with our wish to avoid anything which could escalate the crisis, but without overlooking the violation of global law by Turkey", Anastasiades said.

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