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House Approves Israel-Cyprus Sea Border Deal

cyprus newsThe House unanimously approved the Cyprus-Israel maritime deal which formally sets each country's economic exclusive zone and clears the way for undersea oil and gas exploitation.

In a rare show of unanimity, even oppostion parliamentarians said they agreed that the deal was strategically and historically important.

"It is the government's only good policy," said DISY MP Christos Pourgourides during the House session yesterday afternoon.

Cyprus and Israel are planning further cooperation on undersea gas exploration and exploitation, and Greece has also expressed interest in future projects. But the bilateral agreement is 'null and void' for Turkey, said the country's foreign ministry in a strong statement against the deal in December.

"By ignoring Turkish Cypriots’ rights, Greek Cypriots’ efforts for concluding such agreements, are highly untimely and raise questions as to their real intentions and sincerity regarding the settlement process," said Turkey's foreign minister.

Turkish Cypriots "have also rights and jurisdiction over the maritime areas of the Cyprus Island. The Greek Cypriot Administration does not represent in law or in fact the Turkish Cypriots and Cyprus as a whole. Therefore, agreements signed by the Greek Cypriots with countries of the region are null and void for Turkey," goes the statement.

Turkey "does not have any claim regarding the maritime areas subject to the said EEZ delimitation agreement. Turkey approaches to this issue within the context of the Cyprus problem," said the statement.

Cyprus answers Turkey

In response, Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou said: "The Republic of Cyprus is the only legitimate state in Cyprus...and represents the entire people of Cyprus, including Turkish Cypriots."

Just one of the undersea fields off Cyprus' coast - Block 12 - is estimated to hold 10 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, according to energy experts.

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