Cyprus-Germany Sea Exercises 'Perfectly Coordinated' - Minister
The drills took place in Cyprus waters, in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and follow those carried out with France. Three German ships were involved in the exercises, along with search and rescuers from Cyprus.
The drills are to guard against threats in Cyprus' EEZ, and practise search and rescue measures. German and Cypriot forces worked in perfect coordination and cooperation, said Eliades.
Cyprus' sovereign rights come with responsibilities, said the minister, particularly in view of Cyprus' upcoming EU presidency.
Military activity has stepped up in the seas around Cyprus after threatening behaviour and rhetoric from Turkey, which is unhappy that Cyprus is exploring and exploiting its offshore hydrocarbon reserves.
Turkey's threats towards Cyprus over oil-and-gas exploration in its waters have been condemned by High Representative Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle.
MEP's were united in their concern over rising tensions between Turkey and Cyprus in the dispute, and said that "any threat against one Member State was a threat against the whole EU." A number of European parliamentarians have pointed to the growing importance of Turkey as a player in the region and underlined the need for good neighbourly relations.
They also stressed that Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, must accept Cyprus as an EU Member State. Many underlined that the Republic of Cyprus has the right to explore for natural resources in its own economic zone while some suggested that both communities on the island should benefit from any exploitation of oil and gas resources.
Turkish Petroleum Company TPAO has already started drilling operations in north Cyprus, without government permission, efforts which Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis has dismissed as pointless since no international companies will partner with Ankara for deep-sea operations in a legal grey zone.
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