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Cyprus: gas drilling to proceed despite Turkey’s threats

October 1, 2019
Cypriot soldiers ride on tanks during a military parade marking the 59 years celebrations of independence in Nicosia in the divided island of Cyprus, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded in response to a coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Cypriot soldiers ride on tanks during a military parade marking the 59 years celebrations of independence in Nicosia in the divided island of Cyprus, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded in response to a coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ president says more offshore drilling in search for gas deposits will carry on as planned despite Turkey’s “threats and unlawful actions” inside waters where the east Mediterranean island nation has exclusive economic rights.

President Nicos Anastasiades said in an address on the occasion of Cyprus’ 59th independence anniversary on Tuesday that he remains committed to reaching a peace deal with breakaway Turkish Cypriots to reunify the ethnically divided country.

Energy companies Total of France and Italy’s Eni last month teamed up to expand their gas search off Cyprus’ southern coast.

Turkey doesn’t’ recognize Cyprus as a state and strongly opposes its gas search. It has dispatched vessels to drill for hydrocarbons inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone. Turkey says it’s protecting its own interests and those of Turkish Cypriots.

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