AP – Cyprus’ President on Tuesday suspended talks on reunifying the ethnically divided island in response to Turkish plans to search for oil and gas in waters where the Cypriot government has already licensed companies to drill.
Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said the decision was the result of what he called Turkey’s “provocative” and “aggressive” actions that violate Cyprus’ sovereign rights and international law.
Christodoulides said Cyprus won’t be deterred from continuing with its own drilling and accused Turkey of undermining regional stability.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades made the decision after consulting with party leaders who are urging the international community to speak out against Turkey’s actions.
The United Nations confirmed that a meeting between Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu scheduled for Thursday has been called off. However, U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide would meet with the leaders separately to “discuss the way forward” in the talks. Christodoulides didn’t say when peace talks might resume.
Eroglu condemned the suspension of talks, saying it showed the Greek-Cypriot side wasn’t “sincere” in seeking a peace deal.