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Hague-Marcoulis Discuss Gas, Turkey Threats

hague marcoulis meetingForeign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoulis has opened a direct line of communication with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, and during a meeting in London yesterday, discussed potential responses in case Turkey proceeds with undersea gas exploration in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In an interview on state radio, Marcoulis said that the UK supports the government's right to explore for undersea hydrocarbons in its EEZ. It is a positive sign that she and Hague have direct talks and continue to discuss the situation, she said.

The burgeoning gas-and-oil industry in the Eastern Mediterranean could tap enough hydrocarbon resources to provide energy to the countries in the area and to the EU, said Marcoulis.

Turkey has already made good on threats to proceed further with undersea hydrocarbon exploration by sending three seismic research vessels to Cyprus' EEZ. Because the area of sea they are researching is in international waters, the government has taken the position that it will not interfere with the ships. But it will be a different story if Turkey sends undersea oil and gas drilling rigs, and the approach will change, said military sources. The government has not ruled out the possibility of a military incident given the fact that Turkey has also beefed up its naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, state radio RIK also reported that the US warship Ramage left Limassol Port and is patrolling in Block 12 and Block 8 in the EEZ. Block 12 is where US company Noble Energy has started drilling for natural gas in partnership with Israeli company DELEK.

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