France is giving Nicosia full support in drilling for natural gas and oil in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and French President Emmanuel Macron has assured Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of that, a Real.gr report said.
The exploration for oil and natural gas in Cyprus’ EEZ is conducted by the French-Italian joint venture of Total and ENI energy companies.
The drilling in “Block 11” of the island’s EEZ started as planned on Wednesday, despite Ankara’s warning that drilling in the area is a “unilateral action” against the economic interests of the Turkish-Cypriot community of the occupied northern part of the island.
The operation was briefly monitored by the Turkish Gokceada frigate, as the Turkish Navy was conducting an exercise in the area. However, at the same time two French warships arrived at the port of Larnaca, a move that, analysts say, is a warning to Turkey that France is determined to protect its interests.
According to a Real.gr report, the issue had been discussed on the sidelines of the recent EU Summit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron.
In fact, Real.gr says, Macron forwarded a handwritten note to Tsipras which said “There will be no suspension” [of drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ].