Turkish Cypriots to Greek Cypriots: Cut gas deal or forfeit peace deal

November 25, 2014 22:47

LONDON - A peace settlement in Cyprus is not possible unless Greek Cypriots cut a deal on natural gas exploration with the Turkish-backed breakaway state in the north of the island, the chief Turkish Cypriot negotiator said on Tuesday.

Natural gas offshore in Cyprus, which has been partitioned since 1974, was first discovered in 2011. Greek Cypriots, who represent Cyprus's internationally recognized government, have since licensed exploration sites to Italy's ENI, France's Total and U.S. Noble Energy in an offshore area south of the eastern Mediterranean island.

A Turkish company sent a research vessel into the same area last month, prompting Greek Cypriots to suspend peace talks with Turkish Cypriots, saying the move was provocative and designed to undermine their own exploration efforts.

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