MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. Moscow is worried over the escalation of tension around the development of hydrocarbon fields in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and call on all parties concerned to refrain from destabilizing steps, the Russian foreign ministry said on Sunday.
"We follow with concern the escalation of tension around the development of hydrocarbon fields in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone," the ministry said. "We call for refraining from steps that may entail destabilization and buildup of the crisis potential in Eastern Mediterranean, for strict compliance with the principles of international law, for resolving disputable issues only by peaceful means."
The ministry also called for the soonest relaunch of a negotiating process in order to reach a lasting, viable and fair solution to the Cypriot problem in the interests of all Cyprus’ residents. "As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, we will do our best to promote this process," the ministry stressed.
Large natural gas field have been discovered on Cyprus’ shelf and in its exclusive economic zone. Thus, the Aphrodite field discovered by US’ Noble Energy in 2011 is believed to hold about 140 billion cubic meters of gas. Turkey, which does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, challenges the borders of its exclusive economic zone, saying it won’t tolerate any drilling activities off Cyprus’ coastline without consent from the Turkish Cypriot community. Drilling vessels dispatched to the area by Ankara under licenses from the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus enjoy protection from Turkey’s Naval Forces.
In the course of the Mediterranean forum in Marrakech that was held as part of the autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Turkey’s and Cyprus’ delegates exchanged harsh remarks over Ankara’s decision to send a drilling vessel to the seventh sector of the gas field on Cyprus’ shelf located in the Cyprus Republic’s exclusive economic zone.