Cyprus submits to the International Court of Justice its dispute with Ankara over oil

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said Thursday his country had submitted to the International Court of Justice its dispute with Turkey over energy resources off the Mediterranean island.

"We have confirmed that we will use all available legal and legal means (...) to defend the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, and this is the request made to The Hague," he said, referring to the United Nations' highest judicial body based in The Hague.

The discovery of gas and oil reserves in recent years in the eastern Mediterranean has sparked a dispute between EU member Cyprus and Turkey, which has occupied the northern part of the island since 1974.

A month ago, Cyprus announced the signing of its first $ 9.3 billion natural gas investment deal with a consortium comprising Shell, US-based Noble Energy and Delek.

But Ankara, which does not recognize the Cypriot government, rejects its right to conduct any exploration in search of energy resources before a peace deal to end the division of the island.

In recent months, Ankara has sent exploration ships to the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus despite warnings from Washington and the European Union, which in July adopted political and financial measures aimed at imposing sanctions on Ankara to continue its exploration.

Cyprus is divided between the Republic of Cyprus and the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was declared in the north after the 1974 Turkish invasion in response to a coup by Greek Cypriot nationalists aimed at annexing the island to Greece.

Official talks on the island's reunification were suspended in 2017.

On Thursday, the Cypriot president announced that Nicosia had tried through the Turkish embassy in Athens to inform Ankara of its intention to submit the file to the International Court of Justice, but refused.

"So he was sent by other means and there is evidence to show that he was received and that gives us the right of access," he said.


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