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November 6, 2014 6:40 pm

Israeli FM Lieberman Affirms Right of Cyprus to Explore for Oil and Gas

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Cyprus has been split into a Greek and Turkish side since 1974. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman affirmed the right of Cyprus to explore for oil and gas around its shores after meeting with the Cypriot Foreign Minister Loannis Kasoulides.

“We think it’s crucial to respect all international norms and obligations and to act according to acceptable rules in the international community,” Lieberman said.

It is “extremely unnecessary” to create more tension in the Middle East, he added in reference to Turkey’s refusal to recognize the divided Cyprus as sovereign and its opposition to Cypriot gas searching.

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Cyprus has been split into Greek and Turkish sides since 1974. Turkey recognizes only Cyprus’s Turkish declaration of independence, and the country still maintains troops on the Island’s north side. The United Nations is facilitating reunification talks between the island’s two sides, but these talks were suspended last month by Cyprus’s Greek president, Nicos Anastasiades, when Turkey carried out a mineral search in Cypriot waters.

Israel also has strained relations with Turkey, and the Jewish state is looking to achieve “tangible results next year” regarding cooperation on gas exploration with Cyprus, Lieberman said, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

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