Cyprus to start offshore drilling, president says

September 18, 2011 18:45

NICOSIA - Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said on Sunday Cyprus would start drilling for hydrocarbons within the next few days, defying warnings from Turkey which has challenged its authority to do so.

"We will continue to exercise our evident sovereign rights, which includes exploiting natural resources, always within the parameters of international law ... the exploratory drilling is expected to start within the next few days," Christofias told a meeting of British Cypriots in London.

Cyprus, represented in the EU by its internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government, has commissioned a US company to drill for hydrocarbons in an offshore area south-east of the island. Turkey, which backs a Turkish Cypriot breakaway state in north Cyprus, says any natural wealth belongs to both communities.

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