Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Turkey irked over joint declaration  by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Turkey irked over joint declaration  by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt
  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.


French foreign minister calls for Iran to return to nuclear deal

French foreign minister calls for Iran to return to nuclear deal
Updated 22 January 2021

French foreign minister calls for Iran to return to nuclear deal

French foreign minister calls for Iran to return to nuclear deal
  • In meeting with UAE counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian says Tehran should comply to ensure regional stability 
  • French diplomat discusses Libya and COVID-19 with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Paris

RIYADH: The French foreign minister on Thursday called for Iran to immediately return to its commitments under an international deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Jean-Yves Le Drian’s comments came as European powers are waiting to see what steps Joe Biden, the new US president, would take to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehension Plan of Action (JCPOA) after Donald Trump withdrew the US from the accord. 

Europe wants to save the deal but many in the Arabian Gulf and the West say it empowered Iran to pursue its aggressive foreign policy in the region unchecked.

During a meeting with UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Le Drian called for Iran to reverse its breaches of the deal, including ramping up uranium enrichment way beyond the set limits.

“He (Le Drian) noted that Iran should immediately resume full respect of its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA in order to preserve regional stability and avoid a serious proliferation crisis,” the French foreign ministry said.

Biden’s choice for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday that the US had to work urgently to stop Iran gaining the capability to build a nuclear weapon.

He said a future renegotiated deal could cover Tehran’s missile program and destabilizing activities in the Middle East - two things of particular concern to Gulf countries.

During the meeting, Le Drian and Sheikh Abdullah reviewed talks underway in Egypt to end the conflict in Libya.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they discussed the “means to push the peace process forward, in a way that will contribute to enhancing regional security and stability,” the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

They also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of global vaccine availability.

UAE and French relations date back to the 1970’s and have become increasingly strong in the last 15 years.

They have collaborated on many cultural projects such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to carry the Louvre name outside of France, which opened in 2017.

France also has a military base in Abu Dhabi, its first to be built outside of France or Africa.

The ministers said they would seek to expand the French-Emirati partnership with projects like Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, the UAE branch of the famed French institution.