Greek Defence Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, said on Friday that a French frigate would arrive shortly in block 7 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where French energy giant Total holds a concession with Italy’s Eni.
Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said on Thursday his company would not drill off Cyprus if it meant having to deal with warships. Turkey positioned its drillship, Yavuz – accompanied by two warships – within block 7 over a week ago which has been widely condemned by the EU and the remainder of the international community including the US and Russia.
In an interview with the Greek TV channel Skai, Panagiotopoulos said his French counterpart Florence Parly informed him that France had already sent a frigate, which is expected to arrive shortly in block 7. They discussed the possibility of Italy sending a frigate also.
“French and Italian companies have been granted license for exploratory drillings in block 7”, said Panagiotopoulos, while adding that Europe must protect its “red lines”, which are being violated by Turkey.
“I am not suggesting that we should go to war […]. I am just saying that Europe must show somehow that it cannot tolerate this behavior, that there are certain red lines. The frigates, sent by France and Italy to block 7, is a first step. We must wait and see what kind of deterrence this move will have,” he added.